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Being the History of the Life and Times 
of Tzij Hsi 

By J. O. P. Bland and E. Backhouse 

Compiled from State Papers and the Private Diary 
of the Coj/iptroUer of her Household 

One Volume. Royal 8vo. Price 16s. net. 


"Rarely is a book written round State papers which is at 
once so sound in learning, so informing, and so fascinating to 
read as this. It publishes for the first time documents which, 
but for the diligence of the authors, would probably never have 
come under English eyes ; it gives us an enthralling naiTativc 
of the vicissitudes of feeling and policy in the Forbidden City 
at the time of the Boxer rising and the attacks on the 
Legations in Pekin ; and it comes as near as any book could to 
explaining the enigmatic character of the Empress Dowager. 
She was the Queen Elizabeth of the Chinese Throne. No one 
who wishes to understand the China of the last half-century — 
we might say also the China of immemorial ages — should leave 
this book unread." — The Spectator. 

" For the first time this remarkable volume lifts the veil that 
diplomacy had allowed to fall over the share of the En^press in 
the events of 1900. It is a document more illuminating than 
perhaps any that has ever come out of China. We see, as in 
a looking-glass, the inner life of the Palace. It presents for 
the first time a vivid and coherent picture of the whole career 
and character of the masterful woman who was for half-a- 
century a de facto ruler of the Chinese Empire. Historically 
this document is of the highest importance." — The Times. 

" Of the greatest possible interest. The diary affords a 
panorama of Chinese Court life in its most poignant moments, 
such as without doubt has never before been offered to 
European judgment. The whole of the historical narrative is 
carefully wrought and closely argued ; the authorities consulted 
are first-hand and valuable ; and the picture is alwaj'S full of 
movement and colour." — The Daily Telegraph. 

"The authors have done more than write an admirable 
biography. They have given a picture, authoritative, in- 
structive, and absorbinglj^ interesting, of the tangled skein of 
China's political vicissitudes in the last sixty years. And it is 
out of the China of yesterday that the China of to-morrow 
must emerge." — The Daily News. 

"We have the Empress Dowager to the life .... a vital, 
arresting, commanding woman, whose word was law in China 
for half-a-century. It is a narrative that holds one with an 
intense fascination. This sober record of events surpasses in 
interest the wildest fancies of romantic writers." 

— The Daily Chronicle. 


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•AN Siiii!-k"ai payin(; a visit to the German 











Copyright^ 1912 


A PORTION of the materials employed in compiling 
this general survey of recent events and present policies 
in China was originally used in articles written for the 
Press. My thanks are hereby gratefully expressed to the 
Editors of The Edinburgh Review, The National Review, 
The Nineteenth Century, The Spectator and The Times 
for their courteous permission to reproduce these articles, 
or such extracts from them as are suitable to the 
purposes of the present work. Critics and the general 
reader will, I hope, make allowance for a certain amount 
of overlapping in the general arguments of a work pro- 
duced under these conditions and for other defects 
inseparable from so close a perspective of the period 
under review. 

My thanks are also due to Messrs. Betines and to Mr. 
Le Munyon, photographers at Peking ; to Mr. C. D. 
Jameson, Engineer-in- Charge of the American Red Cross 
Society's famine relief work in Anhui and Kiangsu ; to 
Commandant Lambert, of the Belgian Legation Guard at 
Peking, and to Mr. G. A. Robertson, of the British and 
Chinese Corporation, for photographs used in the illustration 
of these pages. 

London, October, 1912. 























CONTENTS {continued). 




AMERICAN POLICY IN CHINA . . . . . . . .297 


















; 28 









H.i.H. PRINCE TSAi-CHEN, SON OF PRINCE ch'ing. (Special Ambassador 

to the Coronation of King Edward) 66 

PRINCE tsai-t'ao. (Brother of the late Emperor Kuang Hsu.) . 72 

YOUNG CHINA .... 78 


; 86 



the nanking delegates who arrived at peking on february 16th, 
three days before the mutiny, and were lodged at the 
nobles' college 98 

haichow city, north kiangsu, famine region . , . .108 



















PEKING, 1907 




(march 1912) 



[ 278 







[ 304 



Ambassador, with Tang-Shao-yi, to America in 1908.) , . 312 







DOMINION (sinkiang) 340 





\ 368 




[ 386 



\ 396 





ARMY MANCEUVRES, 1908. (Krupp Mountain Guns.) . . . 422 

ARMY MANOEUVRES, NOVEMBER 1908. (Viceroy Tuan Fang's Escort.) . 422 













If it were possible, by means of some international 
agency or Carnegie Court, to take out Life Insurance 
policies for nations, and if these national applicants were 
required to supply precise information regarding their 
ancestry, the evolution of their social state, their transmitted 
tendencies and acquired habits, China would doubtless be 
passed as a " good life " because of her long tested vitality, 
but the premium on her policy would be a high one, by 
reason of her increasing tendency to dangerous forms of 
excess and to certain symptoms of organic disturbance. 
Under the actual conditions of the problem, a social scientist, 
called in to advise on China's case, could only rely upon 
general surmisings, uninformed by accurate data concerning 
the nation's early history and processes of development ; for 
the Chinese, like the Hindoos, have ever been peculiarly 
lacking in historic consciousness. The annals and records of 
successive dynasties provide little or no material for critical 
or scientific study of the evolution of the nation's laws, 
institutions and culture. The store-room of the Chinese 
race's past is a dark lumber place, full of musty relics, 
ancient myths and ghostly whisperings ; we search it in vain 
for the cradle, the childhood's toys, the school books and 
discarded garments of former days. And since it is only 
within the last century that this primordial elder brother 
of the human race has been brought to speaking terms with 

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the outside world, our estimate of his earher intellectual and 
political struggles is largely conjectural. Moreover, it has 
been subjected to many distorting influences, not the least 
of which has been the hypnotic effect of Chinese literature 
and philosophy upon the minds of those European scholars 
and observers who have studied and reflected them. 

The scientific interpretation of sociological phenomena, by 
the accumulation and critical comparison of groups of facts, 
and by the tracing back of proximate causes to those more 
remote, presupposes continuous and fairly trustworthy 
historical records. In their absence, something of the 
structural development of a nation may be traced in its 
monuments and archaeological relics ; M. Aurel Stein has 
shown what may be done in this direction by his researches 
and discoveries in the buried cities of desert Cathay. But 
the social and historical data required to enable us to 
reconstruct and understand the gradual evolution of China's 
social system, data of the kind collected by Herbert Spencer 
as the basis of his " Descriptive Sociology," are not at present 
available ; nor, indeed, has any investigation of the country's 
existing phenomena been made upon systematic methods of 
observation and deduction. The practical value of such 
investigations has been conclusively demonstrated in recent 
years by the work of French social economists, and notably 
in the writings of Edmond Demolins and Leon Poinsard ; 
but the field in China is so vast, the difficulties of accurate 
observation so many and formidable, that the individual and 
independent efforts of a few enthusiasts have produced but 
little result. Mr. E. T. C. Werner's " Descriptive Sociology 
of the Chinese," published last year by the Herbert Spencer 
Trustees, purports, it is true, to describe the morphology, 
the physiology and the development " of China's civilisation. 
It is a monumental work, containing extracts from eight 
hundred Chinese authors and 238 European writers, but the 
evidence of this cloud of witnesses is vitiated as much by 
what Spencer would call the subjective states of the 



European observers, as by the Orientals' lack of historic 
sense. Amidst much irrelevant matter, compiled by Chinese 
aimalists, and many contestable inferences from the incom- 
plete or biassed observations of Europeans, the student of 
social science can gather but little valid evidence to justify 
any definite conclusions. The chief conclusion to be drawn 
from China's historical records tends, indeed, to justify 
Fronde's opinion, that history does not provide subject 
matter for science. In endeavouring to determine what are 
the laws of the natural forces at work in China's social 
system, and what their ascertained effects, we are therefore 
driven back upon first principles, and upon such general 
conclusions as may reasonably be based upon the exact 
knowledge acquired during the last half-century. 


Examination of the books published about China and the 
Chinese since the outbreak of the Revolution last October, 
as well as the opinion of European journalists now resident in 
that country, reveals a very general growth and concurrence 
of opinion on two subjects — firstly, that the time-honoured 
conception of a wide gulf, moral and intellectual, between 
East and West is gradually fading into the limbo of exploded 
shibboleths ; secondly, that the Chinese race has witnessed, 
or is about to witness, the beginning of a new era, the dawn 
of a new day. As regards the first of these subjects, it is 
interesting to look back to the early days of European 
observation of the Chinese, and to see how clearly defined 
was the idea that no accurate conception of the Chinese 
individual or national character could be formed by the 
Western mind. " Some day, perhaps," wrote JNIr. Wiugrove 
Cooke, Times Correspondent in 1858, " w^e may acquire the 
necessary knowledge to give to each of the glaring incon- 
sistencies of a Chinaman's mind its proper weight and 

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influence in the general mass." To the Jesuit missionaries 
of the seventeenth century the Chinese were an utterly 
incomprehensible race, to be reclaimed only by the grace of 
Providence and the Christian religion. But the observers of 
to-day are coming to the opinion that human nature is much 
the same all the world over, that the great brotherhood of 
man is something more than a name, and that differences of 
customs, traditions and social systems act only as barriers 
between nations because of the common human weakness of 
measuring other peoples' actions and conditions by the 
standard of our own habits and prejudices. Thus we find 
Professor Reinsch, one of the latest writers on the intellectual 
activities of the Far East, observing that " the conventional 
and vulgar antithesis of the Orient to the West, with its 
sharp delineation of contrasts, has been altogether mis- 
leading." The fact is that, in the state of general knowledge 
existing fifty years ago, it was difficult for the European in 
China to appreciate a mental state so different from his own, 
and to sympathise with the actions and conditions resultant 
from that state. Therefore, in our earlier geographies and 
text-books, China figured generally as a sort of fantastic 
topsy-turvy land, a land of pagodas and pigtails and porcelain, 
where people ate birds' nests and chow dogs, where merchants 
and missionaries struggled eternally with elusive mandarins, 
against a background of willow-pattern serenity chequered 
by periodic cataclysms. The Chinaman, as an individual, 
was regarded as a bundle of hopeless contradictions, much in 
the same way as good Scotchmen hold the Irish to be trouble- 
some and wayward children. The East and West of Mr. 
Rudyard Kipling were doomed to be eternally divided, to 
watch each other for ever and ever, mysterious and menacing 
shadows, from opposite sides of a great gulf. Remembering 
how strongly this opinion impressed itself for many years 
upon our policies and our literature, there is food for thought, 
and perhaps for cynicism, in the suddenness with which we 
have become conscious of the fact that nothing essential now 



divides East from West, and that, to quote one of Professor 
Reinsch's typical conclusions, " by profoundly influencing 
each other, they will both contribute their share in developing 
the all-human civilisation of the future." The Confucian 
maxim that " Within the Four Seas all are brethren " has 
suddenly asserted itself, simultaneously with the birth of 
new political aspirations in the Orient, and it is supported by 
many European writers in conclusions framed on lines of 
more or less systematic observation. Amongst the writers 
of the previous generation the Spencerian attitude was rare 
(Baber, INIeadows and von Richthofen are notable excep- 
tions), and their observations, as a rule, were based on the 
assumption of inherent and ineradicable differences of human 
nature between East and West. It may be that the appear- 
ance in China of dynamiters and suffragettes, and other 
evidences of mankind's common instincts and common 
destiny, have helped to modify the observer's standpoint ; at 
all events, the present unanimity is remarkable. Nearly all 
the writers of to-day recognise the necessity for close and 
systematic study of the social and intellectual life of the 
East as the first essential towards a good understanding by 
and with the W est. Mr. E. J. Harrison, in " Peace or War 
East of Baikal," confesses that " when one comes to under- 
stand the underlying motives of Oriental thought, one sees, 
often enough, that the logic of the situation is not entirely 
on the side of the Westerner." Professor E. A. Ross, after 
half a year of travel and inquiry in the Far East, scoffs at 
" the old China hand's " conception of the Chinese as 
inscrutable mysteries. 

" The fact is," he says, to the traveller who appreciates 
how different is the mental horizon that goes with another 
stage of culture or another type of social organisation than 
his own, the Chinese do not seem very puzzling. Allowing 
for differences in outfit of knowledge and fundamental ideas, 
they act much as we should act under their circumstances. 
The theory, dear to literary interpreters of the Orient, that 



owing to diversity in mental constitution the yellow man 
and the white man can never comprehend or sympathise 
with one another, will appeal little to those who from their 
comparative study of societies have gleaned some notion of 
what naturally follows from isolation, the acute struggle 
for existence, ancestor worship, patriarchal authority, the 
subjection of women, the decline of militancy, and the 
ascendancy of scholars." 

Dr. Arthm^ Smith, in the Introduction to the latest edition 
of " Chinese Characteristics," sees " no apparent reason why 
what is actually known of the Chinese people should not be 
co-ordinated as w^ell as any other combination of complex 
phenomena." In all these opinions we may perceive a definite 
movement towards systematic sociological observation and 
critical comparison. This laudable movement, however, is, 
as yet, greatly lacking in historic perspective and prevision ; 
a fact indicated by the equally common consensus of opinion 
which confidently asserts the dawn of a new era with the 
Chinese Revolution. Philosophically considered, the intro- 
duction into China of Western education, the pressure on her 
economic resources exercised with ever-increasing intensity 
by Western nations and by Japan, and the elimination of the 
central authority of the Manchus, are new facts of the highest 
importance, which must continue, as permanent forces, to 
modify the national character and to affect its future move- 
ment ; but it should be no less obvious that nations, like 
individuals, must reap what they have sown ; that the sins 
of the fathers are indeed visited upon the children, and that, 
by no incantation of new formulse, can their penalties be 
avoided. The assumption that runs through most of the books 
and articles written about China since the professed conversion 
of the Empress Dow^ager to the idea of Constitutional govern- 
ment in 1902, the theory upon which have been based the 
policies of our diplomats and financiers since the collapse of 
the Manchu dynasty, postulates belief in a sudden and radical 
transformation of all the social and political institutions of 


the Chinese people. In the tvvinkhng of an eye, it seems, 
they have been changed. All the immemorial instincts and 
impulses, the well-worn ways of thought and action of this, 
the oldest, civilisation on earth, are to pass, we are told, with 
the passing of the Manchus, by the magic of the blessed word 
Republic, and the waving of a five-coloured rag. 


It is no new delusion, this vision of a race shedding its 
inherited tendencies like a garment ; nevertheless, history and 
science alike insist on the fact that the modification of human 
nature, by the introduction of new factors in its environment, 
is essentially a slow and laborious process. European history 
is strewn with the wrecks of enthusiastic schemes for the 
regeneration of humanity by shibboleths, for making nations 
moral or great by Act of Parliament. 

" If," says Herbert Spencer, we glance over the pro- 
grammes of societies and sects and schools of all kinds, we 
find in them one common trait. They are all pervaded by 
the conviction, now definitely expressed, and now taken as a 
self-evident truth, that there needs but this kind of instruc- 
tion or that kind of discipline, this mode of repression or 
that system of culture, to bring society into a very much 
better state. . . . And yet the delusiveness of such hopes is 
obvious enough to anyone not blinded by a hypothesis or 
carried away by an enthusiasm." 

And, in another place, 

" Again and again for three generations has France been 
showing to the world how impossible it is essentially to change 
the type of a social structure by any rearrangement wrought 
out through a revolution. However great the transformation 
may for a time seem, the original thing reappears in disguise. 
Out of the nominally free government set up a new despotism 
arises, differing from the old by having a new shibboleth and 
new men to utter it ; but identical with the old in the deter- 
mination to put down opposition and in the means used to this 



end. . . . The bureaucratic system persists equally under 
Imperialist, Constitutional and Republican arrangements. 
... It needs but to recall the truth, that the properties of 
the aggregate are determined by the properties of the unit, 
to see at once that so long as the characteristics of citizens 
remain substantially unchanged, there can be no substantial 
change in the political organisation which has slowly been 
evolved by them." 

The leaders of Young China prefer to put their trust in 
the dreams of Jean-Jacques Rousseau ; nevertheless these 
pregnant words of a master-thinker might have been written 
expressly for their learning. For there is this difference to 
be noted between Rousseau's disciples of the National 
Convention and the Chinese Republicans, that the latter 
have, so far, been conspicuously deficient in what Lord 
Morley defines as the earnest enthusiasm for all the pur- 
poses, interests and details of productive industry " of the 
French Encyclopaedists. With Diderot and his followers, 
philosophy became patriotism of a practical kind, attaching 
importance to science and art, as distinct from book-learning, 
and sympathising instinctively with the farmer, the mer- 
chant and the artisan ; all forms, in fact, of fruitful labour. It 
was this practical reality in the French which, despite their 
political shibboleths, despite the chaos of the Revolution, 
made and kept the nation great. In so far as their revolu- 
tionary movement v/as characterised by the constructive 
purpose of maintaining conditions of fruitful labour, it 
became, indeed, the basis of a new structure of society and, 
philosophically recognising the realities of life, an effective 
bond of brotherhood. We have recently seen, and shall yet 
see, in Persia and Turkey, in Portugal and Mexico, the rise 
of new despotisms, under Constitutional and Republican 
rearrangements of systems unmodified by structural change ; 
and in their history, on a small scale, we may read the 
lesson that China's speculative theorists and ignorant agita- 
tors have yet to learn. 




Thus considered, the Chinese revolution and the expulsion 
of the IVIaiichus appear to be nothing more than aggravated 
symptoms of the general disorganisation and chronic unrest | 
prevailing throughout the nation's political life. As for the 1 
proximate causes of this disorganisation and unrest, it is 
absurd to ascribe them to any deliberate and conscious effort : 
by the nation as a whole to adapt itself to a changing 
environment, or to believe in any deep-rooted influence on 
the masses of the revolutionary doctrines of Treaty Port 
journalists and students from Japan. These new factors are j 
producing a certain effect upon the life and thought of the ' 
people, no doubt ; but their action must be followed by ^ 
reaction in due course, and only after the lapse of several 
generations will it be possible to determine their final effects 
upon the social structure of China. The error into which 
have fallen many observers, misled by laudable enthusiasms, 
is fairly exemplified by the attitude of " Putnam Weale," ' 
who, m the Daily Telegraph of the 9th of April, expresses I 
his belief in the possibility of such a miraculous transforma- j 
tion " only because China is the home of Aladdin's wonderful | 
lamp." Writers who take this point of view have no | 
difficulty in persuading themselves that autocracy, opium 
and anti-militarism have been entirely abolished, " the whole 
ancient system effectively wiped out," and that the Chinese 
race has divested itself of these things as easily as it has cut j 
off the queue — that it has assimilated European methods 1 
and ideas as readily as its bowler hats and frock-coats. ] 

To accept such an interpretation of the present situation in j 
China it is necessary to assume, for the Chinese people as a j 
whole, definite aspirations and fixed goals, an all-pervading 
instinct of patriotism, subordination of individual to national 
interests, and authoritative leaders. Of these, there has been 
no evidence. If history teaches that the man comes with 
the hour, it teaches also that the hour comes not by accident, \ 
but only after long years of preparation. In the China of ' 
to-day we seek in vain for signs of the Idea, universal in 



appeal, which makes for regeneration, the Idea that impels 
masses of mankind, at their appointed hour, to follow 
a Mahomet or a Peter the Hermit, a Garibaldi or a Bolivar. 
Of a Cromwell, nay, even of a 13anton, there is as yet no 
sign ; nor anything to convince us that, were he to appear, 
the masses of the people would have ears to hear him. 


What then ? Truth compels us, I fear, to the conclusion 
that the politicians and military conspirators who have 
succeeded in overthrowing the rule of the Manchus, are 
themselves all unconscious manifestations of the race's deep- 
rooted disease of disorganisation ; that it is not the political 
agitator who has created unrest, but rather the unrest 
(chiefly economic in its origin) that has produced the 
agitator. If we look back through the Chinese annals since 
the end of the Tang dynasty (or, roughly speaking, since the 
Norman conquest of England), we find history persistently 
repeating itself in violent rebellions ; in the ejection, with 
gi'cat slaughter, of dynasties that had exhausted the mandate 
of Heaven ; in regularly alternating periods of upheaval and 
recuperation, all traceable, in almost rhythmical series, to a 
social system w^hich has inculcated principles of passive 
resistance together with a chronic tendency towards over- 
population. Intervals of relief from economic pressure have 
been bought at the price of cataclysms which have depopu- 
lated vast regions. Within the memory of living men the 
whole process has been witnessed — provinces that were laid 
waste by the Mahomedan and Taiping rebellions have been 
repeopled in one generation by the surplus of their neigh- 
bours, and in the next, have once more been faced by the 
grim spectre of famine. Even when the needs of the 
Empire's population as a whole have not exceeded the food 
supply, there have always been congested districts and over- 
grown cities, a large percentage of whose inhabitants live 



literally from hand to mouth. It is from these, the pre- 
destined hungry ones, the hopelessly submerged tenth, that 
are drawn the salt smugglers, beggars, bandits, vagrants and 
looters who maintain incessant warfare against the rights of 
property — carrion crows that hover over all fields of fruitful 
industry — " les miserahles,'' to whom a revolution means the 
looting of cities and unearned increment. These, in a land 
where the functions of Government are practically confined 
to tax-gathering, are the inevitable result of economic 
pressure on the one hand, and administrative disorganisation 
on the other. They are the froth and foam of great waves 
of humanity eternally breaking on the grim rocks of starva- 
tion. And, incidentally be it noted, they are the material 
from which troops are hastily manufactured by both sides in 
every rebellion and civil war. 

These, the outlaws and the desperate, are clearly the 
offspring of chronic disorganisation ; but its results are by no 
means confined to the lowest strata of society. The pro- 
fessional political agitator and the bomb-throwing student 
are, in their way, equally significant manifestations of the 
same disease. Socially, they are the direct descendants of 
those who, under the old classical regime^ swarmed in and 
about every yavicn, every school and public office in the 
land, the expectants," the ever-scheming, ever-hungry 
horde of place-seekers, the submerged and struggling army 
of the unemployed literati. " Young China," the leaders of 
the anti-Manchu and Republican movements, are the sons 
and brothers of mandarins ; and evidence is rapidly ac- 
cumulating, from Peking to Canton, that, making all 
possible allowance for the difference between " Western 
learning " and the Confucianist classics as surface polish, 
they remain mandarins by instinct. How, indeed, should 
they have learned to be anything else ? 

In saying this I have no wish to pass capital sentence on 
the mandarin. He, too, is the result of long centuries of 
petrified tradition, of a creed now outworn. He represents 



the uses and abuses of a literary bureaucracy, which, in its 
day, served China well, and which, amidst gross corruption 
and inefficiency, has retained many admirable qualities. But 
just as the type of the average mandarin has degenerated, 
becoming corrupt, cowardly and addicted to fleshpots, so, in 
their descendants of Young China, we find personal ambi- 
tion, indiscipline and greed striking a more insistent note 
than any altruistic appeal of patriotic and fruitful labour. 

Not that young China lacks ardent and unselfish spirits — 
a movement that produces martyrs of the stamp of Tan 
Sze-tong, or honestly consistent reformers like Liang 
Ch'i-ch'ao, can never be quite without hope for the future. 
But, for the present, for one conscientious reformer like Liang 
Ch'i-ch'ao, there are a hundred visionaries of the stamp of 
K ang Yu-wei ; for one Tan Sze-tong there are a dozen 
garrulous, prosperous Wu Ting-fangs. The traditions of the 
literati have never failed to produce an elite of great men. 
earnest, fearless and honest administrators like Liu K'un-yi 
and Chang Chih-tung or stern moralists like Wu K'o-tu ; 
but their example has never been able to leaven the lump of 
mandarin corruption. Even so it is with the latest heirs 
and assigns of their estate — Young China — bursting with 
the pride of its W estern learning, and freed from the ethical 
restraints of Confucianism ; full of the new wine of 
Democracy and without the steadying influences of a 
philosophy which has preserved the race through countless 
dangers and tribulations. 


To turn now to the causes of China s political and social 
unrest. Imprimis, and looking to the present situation, 
there can be no doubt that the effect of Russia's defeat by 
.Japan, the collapse of the Manchus and the passing of the 
old-style literary caste, have contributed to the actual 
ascendancy of a new political regime, imbued with all the 
prestige of that Western knowledge to which Young China 



attributes the greatness of Japan. (Her centuries of dis- j 

cipline, of loyalty, civic virtues and social cohesion count for i 

less, in the eyes of China's new leaders, than machinery and i 
rifles and a draft Constitution.) Since the Boxer rising of 

1900 it has been clear that an upheaval was impending, for j 

the strong hand of the once-virile Manchus has lost its ( 

cunning, and without a strong hand no Oriental sovereign j 

can continue to rule. Posts, telegraphs and railways, i 

creating intercommunication between the provinces, had ! 

effectively undermined the Manchu position ; and they j 

themselves, as the event proved, were quite ready to depart ; 

in peace. Since the reign of Hsien Feng, they had failed to ] 
exercise any real authority, and the Empire had passed 
accordingly through many crises of disorder. In the minds 
of the masses they had become identified with disaster, with 
memories of looted cities, desecrations of ancestral tombs, 
and the ruin of industry and trade. They had exhausted 

the mandate of Heaven, and their hour was therefore at i 
hand. It has never been the custom of this philosophical 

race to inquire too closely into the antecedents or proceed- | 
ings of their rulers. They welcomed the Republican 
programme of Young China, therefore, with the same 

cheerful acquiescence, and the same mental reservations, as : 

they welcomed the alien Manchus after the defeat and ; 

expulsion of the degenerate native dynasty of the JNIings. i 

What the Chinese people, as distinct from the politicians of j 

the Treaty Ports, asks of its rulers (be they who they may) j 

is peace and reasonable security for life and property. The j 

appointed duty of every man is to labour unceasingly, and : 
to leave behind him as many ancestor-worshippers as 

possible ; the duty of rulers is to provide him with peaceful i 

opportunities for so doing. Nevertheless, the very ease and j 

bloodlessness with which the change has been effected are ; 
proving, at the outset, additional factors of unrest. The 

example of such easy attainment of power and place is not i 

likely to be lost on the secret societies, on the semi- ; 

13 ; 


independent military forces in the provinces, on the 
Cantonese pirates, and other organised bodies of predatory 


Even if we assume, with the optimists and financiers, that 
a viodus vlvejidi can be found between North and South, 
between Constitutional Monarchists and Republicans, 
between civilians and soldiers, between the haves and the 
have-nots, there must yet remain those persistent causes of 
disorganisation which lie in the mental state and social 
structure of the masses — causes removable only by slow 
educative process. Of these the chief is the procreative 
recklessness of the race, that blind frenzy of man-making 
born of ancestor-worship and Confucianism which, despite 
plague, pestilence and famine, battle, murder and sudden 
death, persistently swells the numbers of the population up 
to, and beyond, the visible means of subsistence. By means 
of polygamy, early marriages and the interdependence of clans, 
the Chinese people struggle to fulfil at all costs the inexor- 
able demands of their patriarchal system ; bringing their 
predestined victims of hunger and disease into a world that 
has no room for them ; breeding up to a food-limit which, 
amidst toil and penury incredible, has long since reached the 
breaking point. A nation which implicitly believes, and 
unanimously acts on the belief, that a man's first duty in 
life is to provide as many male heirs as possible for the 
comfort of himself and of his ancestors, inevitably condemns 
vast masses of its people to the lowest depths of poverty, 
and condemns the body politic to regularly recurring cata- 
clysms. The chronic condition of China, except in those 
districts wliere plague or famine or civil war have tem- 
porarily relieved the pressure, is a struggle for life unequalled 
in any other part of the world — a struggle so desperate that 
the fittest who survive must of necessity be endowed with 
peculiar qualities of physical resistance and vitality. And it 



is a struggle from which there is, generally speaking, no 
escape ; for to add to the burden of philoprogenitiveness, 
the traditions of the race have decreed, with the force of 
religion, that it is the duty of every man to sacrifice at 
stated intervals at his ancestral tombs and to be buried, in 
due season, with his fathers. Thus the great bulk of the 
population have for centuries been rigidly localised, and a 
people from whom Confucianism has gradually eliminated 
all instincts of collective initiative, into whom Buddhism 
has instilled a spirit of passivity and renunciation, has been 
deprived of the outlets which general emigration and 
territorial expansion northwards might otherwise have 
provided. Within tlieir own borders, therefore, they have 
perished, sacrificed by millions to a social system utterly 
improvident and callous of human suffering. 

It is clear, I think, that herein lies the great and remote 
cause of China's intolerable afflictions — a cause not to be 
removed by any political shibboleths or panaceas of philan- 
thropy. Even supposing that, by good government, the 
conditions of life were to be alleviated for the masses, that 
by economic reforms and applied science the resources of the 
country might be materially increased, it is clear that, for a 
people which rears four generations while Europe is rearing 
three, with whom the absence of posterity is a crime, and 
concubinage the reward of success, any relief would be tem- 
porary — the fundamental problem deferred, not solved. The 
immediate result would be a decrease in infant mortality, 
which at present reaches terrible, almost incredible, propor- 
tions. (In Hongkong, under British administration, the 
death-rate of Chinese children, under one year of age, was 
eighty-seven per cent, of all births reported in 1909.) A 
certain percentage of the vagrants and outlaws who infest 
the outskirts of every city might be reclaimed for the space 
of one generation ; but the insoluble problem of filling three 
stomachs with one bowl of rice would speedily have to be 
faced anew. At this moment a famine is carrying off many 



tliousands from the Huai River districts of Anhui ; Shensi, 
though ravaged by the Mahomedan rebelhon a generation 
earher, lost a third of its inhabitants by famine in 1900. 
The wastage and slaughter of the Taiping rebellion have 
been computed at close on a hundred million souls ; the 
Vellow River floods have periodically carried off their 
millions of victims. Yet the population to-day stands at 
about 330 millions, and its pressure is steadily increasing. 

During the long centuries of China's seclusion and con- 
tempt for the outer barbarian, ever since the time when the 
Great Wall was built to guard her in self-sufficient isolation, 
this grim struggle has been going on — man blindly striving 
to perpetuate the patriarchal pastoral system under con- 
ditions economically impossible. During all these centuries 
the cause of China's never-ending unrest, of civil wars and 
ever-recurring anarchy, has been, aic fond, a strife for food. 
Here and there the ambitions of rulers and pretenders have 
set the masses in motion for political ends, but never, as in 
Europe, have her wars been the result of religious differences, 
or of the insistent appeal of a moral crusade. The eternal 
struggle, the same a thousand years ago as it is to-day, grim 
and silent as the struggle for life in primeval forests, has 
been for a place in the sun, and daily bread. No time in all 
these myriad humble existences for sports or social amenities 
or amusements ; China knows no public recreation grounds, 
no public interest in art or music, in architecture or poetry. 
The soul of this people has too long been condemned to 
elementary materialism, in its business of man-making and 
man-feeding. Yet this aspect of the situation, this funda- 
mental cause of unrest, is persistently ignored by Monarchists 
and Republicans alike — no mention of it in all their pro- 
grammes of reform. To read the discourses of the National 
Assembly one might think that, by the framing of a 
Constitution based on the French model. Young China 
hopes to repeat, ad injinitum, the miracle of the loaves and 
fishes. Yet before their eyes, in the fierce looting of cities, 



in the activities of Cantonese pirates and northern Hung- 
hutzus, in brigandage rampant from Kansuh to the coast, 
the lesson is writ plain for all to read — that the masses, 
however pacific and fatalistic by force of tradition, will not 
long abide quietly under the shadow of starvation unless 
restrained by the strong hand of armed authority. That is 
the first object-lesson to be learned from the dawn of the 
Republic's new era, and its development bids fair to eclipse 
in dramatic features the passing of the Manchu. 

During the long ages in which China remained geographi- 
cally isolated and politically self-sufficient, this thriftless 
breeding and wholesale destruction of superfluous lives 
became the established order of existence. The annihilation 
of millions by flood, famine or disease was generally accepted 
as part of the common and inevitable destiny of man, " born 
to sorrow as the sparks fly upward," no more to be avoided 
by any devices of rulers than the devastations of earth- 
quakes and typhoons. But, with the incursions and contact 
of a more successful civilisation, by the influence of Christian 
missionaries and the severe lessons taught by Christian 
armies, the intelligence of the race has become gradually 
convinced of error, and deeply wounded in its amour propix. 
It has realised that the profession, if not the practice, of 
altruism and humanitarianism constitutes a necessary pass- 
port to the best society among nations. Indifference to 
human life, from being a philosophic attitude of acquiescence, 
became an offence against modern civilisation. Thus, relief 
of famine by public subscription, control of the forces of 
nature by science, plague prevention, the abolition of opium, 
infanticide and slavery — all these became part of Young 
China's programme of reform. Free trade in death must 
yield to protection for life. But amidst all the disputations 
of the sects, and all the specifics of political leaders, there 
has been, as yet, hardly a voice raised against marriages of 
minors or polygamy, and reckless overbreeding, which are 
the basic causes of China's chronic unrest. 

17 c 



Another cause, almost as deep-rooted, lies in the absence 
of any li\dng faith or inspiration of religion among the 
masses. Confucianism, the soulless system of an intellectual 
aristocrat, has permeated the national mind, robbing the 
people's Buddhism of the gentle mysticism, the courage and 
the reverence which beautify and console the lives of those 
who still follow the Way in Burmah, in India and Japan. 
There is the courage of an endurance almost superhuman in 
the lives of China's toiling millions, but the pathos and the 
poetry of a religion that redeems other Asiatic races from 
the heaviest penalties of materialism have been sacrificed, in 
Confucianism, to the worship of genius, to an ethical system 
that contents itself with defining man's relations to man and 
leaves him without enthusiasms, almost without curiosity, 
for the inner life and the mysteries of worlds unseen. The 
demons of the Taoists are mocked even by those who, 
because of superstition, purchase the priests' good will. 
Indifference to things spiritual is the keynote of the Chinese 
race ; an indifference as profound among the " stupid people " 
as amongst the Uterati The unity of the family and the 
State, the worship of ancestors, the "three relations" and the 
paramount duty of labour — these are the unshaken tenets of 
the Chinaman's creed, the sum and substance of his philo- 
sophy and religion. The effects of Western education, 
even in missionary schools, on the upper classes, reflect the 
callous agnosticism of the masses ; hardly a whisper, in all 
this valley of dry bones, of any vivifying breath. The glory 
that once was China has perished, like that of Greece and 
Rome, because of the decay of religious faith and worship. 
The religious revival of the Brahmans, so notable a feature 
of recent unrest in India, has at present no counterpart in 
China ; even the Mahomedans of the north-west are followers 
of the prophet by tradition rather than by any force of 
conviction. The faith of the Boxers, the nearest approach 



to religious enthusiasm that modern China has produced, 
was hke the Christianity of the Taipings — gross superstition, 
cloaking a fierce hunger for loot. Of religion, as a steadying 
force, to guide the nation through its grievous perils of 
change, there is practically none ; throughout all the land no 
voice of preacher, warrior-priest or saint, to create a national 
conscience and living ideals. A new flag, a national anthem 
composed by Shanghai journalists, a draft Constitution and 
vague ambitions of " astonishing the world " by miracles of 
metamorphosis, these are the inspirations and resources of 
Young China, confronting a great crisis in the nation's 
history. Of intelligence there is enough and to spare, 
enough to endow many student leaders with contempt for 
the foreigner, even as the Bengalis despise the Anglo-Saxon 
rulers of India. But they have yet to learn in the hard 
school of experience that (to quote from Professor Wegener) 
**the English rule India not by their intellectual but by 
their moral qualities, and by the white man's ethical 
superiority and strength of will." From Yuan Shih-k'ai 
down to the youngest student of the Dare-to-Die brigade, 
the absence of purposeful will-power is the most conspicuoui^ 
characteristic of China's self-appointed leaders. 


Yet another fundamental cause of unrest lies in that 
levelUng tendency of China's democratic philosophy, which 
not only eliminates all effective initiative of leadership, but 
makes loyalty to a leader the rarest of Chinese virtues. 
Japanese patriotism, infused with all the chivalry and 
stoicism of the feudal system, inspired by deep love of 
country and loyalty to the sovereign, was strong enough to 
evolve from the clash of systems a people united by definite 
ideals. Chinese patriotism is, as yet, but the confused 
shouting of unstable and untrusted politicians, blind leaders 
of the blind, without permanent inspiration or consistent 

19 c 2 


purpose. If the dream of the Republic has been accepted 
by the masses, it has not been because of any enthusiasm for 
the persons or principles of its founders, but because, in a 
people long accustomed to tyrannous misrule, there is 
always acquiescence in any upheaval with its possible hope 
of better things. If China possessed either a ruling caste of 
priests or warriors, or a self-respecting, energetic and staunch 
bourgeoisie to guide the people in the wilderness of new 
ideas, she would not be confronted with the prospect of long 
years of disorder, with misrule and plundering of praetorian 
bands, more ruthless and undisciplined than those " whose 
licentious fury was the first symptom and cause of the 
decline of the Roman empire." 

Following upon the fundamental and remote causes of the 
actual condition of China's social structure, there are other 
proximate and possibly transient factors, such as, for 
instance, the recent changes in the educational system ; 
relaxation of ethical restraints which formerly possessed the 
force of law ; the widespread corruption of the educated 
classes ; the disruptive force of new ideas and the absence of 
authoritative leaders. But every day's experience of the 
revolutionary movement tends to show that no radical 
change for the better can possibly be effected except by 
slow processes of education and religious revival, applied 
through several generations, and that the short cut to 
Utopia is a vain illusion. It is an illusion common to the 
highest and lowest forms of civilisation : in every country 
every generation believes that it stands at the parting of the 
ways " between an old bad epoch and a good new one," hope 
ever triumphing over experience. 

China's civilisation, though callously indifferent to human 
wastage and wreckage, asserts by the very antiquity and 
continuity of its institutions and beliefs, good claims to our 
respect. It has survived, and will survive again, invasions 
of outer barbarians and grave internal disorders, the racial 
traditions and habits of the masses remaining thereby in all 



essentials unchanged. Its recuperative strength and its 
wealth have ever lain in the people's unconquerable energy 
of labour, in the passive resistance of an instinctively demo- 
cratic race-spirit and in atavistic resistance to change. 
Content with its patriarchal system and patriarchal ideals, it 
has never evolved a middle class, like the bourgeoisie 
of Western Europe or the samurai of Japan, capable of 
organising, through long periods of preparation, the materials 
for structural modification. Until yesterday, there was no 
reason why it should. The Middle Kingdom had every 
reason to believe in its own innate superiority ; its scheme of 
civilisation might well have continued to satisfy her needs 
had it been possible for her to maintain her splendid isolation. 
To-day, the economic pressure of the modern world, its 
Weltpolitilx, cosmopolitan finance, and quick-firing guns, 
forbid all hope of her being allowed to resume that ancient 
and venerable state. The dream cherished by every Chinese 
official, since the days of Lord Macartney's mission, that we 
should take away our guns, our opium and our missionaries, 
and leave them in peace, is clearly impossible of fulfilment. 

The foreign-educated Chinese student and the professional 
politician are amongst the results of the impact of the 
West. Undoubtedly, they constitute new and important 
factors in determining the future direction of social change ; 
but in considering the present condition of the nation and its 
immediate future, there is, I think, a tendency to exaggerate 
the influence which these classes are destined to exercise in 
modifying the fundamental habits and sentiments of the 
race. It is easy to be misled, by false analogies taken from 
the history of Japan, into the common delusion that sub- 
stantial change can be wrought in the political and social 
organisation of the country, while yet the character of the 
masses remains unchanged. Earth's surface is strewn with 
battered monuments and dead cities which tell us of the 
passing of races, whose deep-rooted traditions could not be 
modified in time to cope with the sudden emergence of new 




and destructive forces. Portugal affords an instance of a 
country in which chronic unrest has for centuries harassed a 
laborious and pacific people, because of the belief of its 
upper class in political forinuUe as remedies for national ills, 
and its failure to apply the slow-working structural changes 
of education and discipline. Russia's recurring paroxysms 
of protest against autocracy denote, in their lack of cohesion 
and continuity, the pathetic efforts of idealists to evolve a 
modern social structure out of materials largely mediseval, to 
pass in a generation from the feudal system to organised 
socialism. Here, again, Japan is frequently cited as an 
example of what may be done by new laws and new 
machinery of government, all regardless of the fact that the 
qualities of will-power, loyalty and sustained energy which 
enabled Japan to effect in forty years those stupendous 
changes in her political and economic organisation, were the 
results of long centuries of self-discipline and patriotism ; 
oblivious, too, of the fact that the nation's social organisation, 
its ethics, philosophy and culture, the subtle charm and poetry 
of the inner life of the people, have retained their own traditions 
and characteristics. Such cultural and political influences as 
Japan has assimilated, have been deliberately acquired, and 
intelligently adapted to the existing structure. 

Of India it has been said by a thoughtful observer that if 
the British Raj were to be withdrawn to-morrow, the moral 
effect of two centuries of British influence and example 
would swiftly fade and utterly disappear. The material 
monuments would be there — the roads and railways and 
canals — but the impression upon the thought-life of the 
people of all our conceptions and expositions of the purposes 
of existence, would pass like the memory of a dream. The 
brooding soul of the Asiatic would continue to take its 
time-honoured way through this valley of illusions, un- 
disturbed by any memories of our fretful materialism and 
vexatious dogma ; and its national customs would speedily 
reflect again its immemorial ideals and beliefs. If this be 



true of India, how much more so of China, for the masses 
of whose population European civihsation looms only on 
the remoter horizons of imagination, a vague and menacing 
peril ? 

If, looking to the ancient and permanent foundations of 
the Chinese social structure on the one hand, and to the 
external forces which threaten that venerable and defence- 
less edifice on the other, we make bold to forecast the 
nation's destinies, there appears to be good ground for the 
belief that the factor which must weigh most heavily in 
determining the immediate future lies in the fierceness of 
the struggle for bare existence. Admitting the inevitable 
continuance of conditions which create a population in 
excess of the normal food supply, there follow the necessity 
for an effective central authority ruling a tOj^ientale. With- 
out such an authority, the criminal classes, the dangerous 
elements that are ever in wait to prey on the industry of 
the peasantry and labouring classes, must increase and 
multiply with amazing rapidity — as they have done for the 
past six months — and gradually reduce the country, through 
chaotic destruction, to a condition of complete exhaustion. 

Young China has been welcomed, as I have said, because 
the Manchus had become identified with calamity — but a 
Young China that wears the strange garments of the 
Europeans, and yet fails to exercise any e^Fecti^'e authority, 
will not long be acknowledged as the ruling power. Despite 
the growth of national consciousness that has taken place 
during the past twenty years, the deep-rooted instincts of 
the race remain unmistakably unpolitical and philosophically 
indifferent to the origin of constituted authority, so long as 
it ensures maintenance of the accepted order of things 
Celestial. The Chinese national consciousness, indeed, 
resembles in many respects that of the Jewish people in its 
pride of race, its intellectual and philosophic aristocracy, its 
powers of cohesion and passive resistance, its collective 
economic superiority. The record of the Wei-Hai-Wei 



regiment, the spectacle of Chinese viceroys, governors and 
literati eagerly seeking the foreigner's protection at Shanghai 
and other treaty ports ; even the gratitude shown by the 
inhabitants of Peking for the presence of the foreign troops 
in their midst, all these are indications of the truth that, if 
it should come to a choice between Young China and chaos 
and foreign administration with law and order, the masses 
would choose the latter. In forecasting the probable out- 
come of the present phase of disorganisation, the question 
which immediately presents itself, therefore, is. What are 
the prospects of Young China's evolving an effective and 
acceptable administration under the Republic before the 
dangerous elements of the community shall have thrown 
off the last remnants of control ? This is a question which 
each must answer for himself by the light of his knowledge 
or his faith. For myself, remembering the ancestry and 
genesis of Young China, being personally acquainted with 
many of its leading spirits, having followed its opinions and 
activities in every province from the beginning of the 
present revolution, I am compelled to the conviction that 
salvation from this quarter is impossible : not only because 
Young China itself is unregenerate and undisciplined, but 
because its ideals and projects of government involve the 
creation of a new social and political structure, utterly 
unsuited to the character and traditions of the race ; be- 
cause it is contrary to all experience that a people cut off 
from its deep-rooted beliefs and habits of life, should 
develop and retain a vigorous national consciousness. 





I HAVE endeavoured to show that the remote and funda- 
mental cause of unrest in China hes in the procreative 
recklessness of the race — a cause removable only by slow 
educative process — whilst the proximate causes, attributable 
to new political and social forces in the state, are to a great 
extent local and transient in their origin, liable to rapid 
reactions, and eventually remediable. The more acute 
symptoms of economic unrest have been chronic throughout 
the recorded history of China, evidences of the fierceness of 
the struggle for life resulting from unlimited man-making 
and a limited food supply ; but the nature of the symptoms 
has varied according to the strength or weakness of the 
government of the day. Whenever the strong hand of 
authority has lost its grip upon the people, whenever a 
dynasty has exhausted its capacity for ruling, the 
" submerged tenth," upon the first opportunity of local 
insurrection, has risen swiftly from all sides to the sacking 
of cities — vast hunger-marches militant, that for a time have 
shaken the Celestial social fabric to its foundations. It 
was thus when the INIongol rule fell into decay under the 
degenerate descendants of Kublai Khan ; when a mendicant 
priest, masterfully organising the unruly masses of the 
famine-stricken provinces, founded the dynasty of the 
Mings. It was thus when, after long years of anarchy, 
the Mings had gone their dishonoured way, the Manchus 



restored order out of chaos and administered rough and ready 
justice with a firm hand. Because of the corruption and 
inefficiency of the Mongol rulers, the Mings came to power ; 
because of their own degeneration, they lost it. Their 
dynasty came to its end, as Macgowan ^ says, " because 
of its inherent want of moral qualities, without which no 
power will ever be long tolerated by a people like the 
Chinese, who demand so high an ideal in their Sovereign." 
And so, in their appointed hour, the degenerate Manchus 
have also gone their way, the moral qualities which dis- 
tinguished K'ang Hsi and Ch'ien Lung having gradually 
been sapped by the effeminate luxury of a tribute-fed and 
eunuch-ridden Court. Like their predecessors, they dis- 
appear, amidst tumults and convulsions of the body politic, 
and the " stupid people " are for the time being exposed 
defenceless to the tender mercies of the submerged tenth." 


Nevertheless, if we read Chinese history aright, the 
Chinese race, accustomed by tradition and temperament to 
accept as dispensations of Providence these and other 
inevitable results of its social system, will in the end find 
and establish the government which it desires and deserves. 
As the author of Letters from John Chinaman finely says : 

" The simple and natural character of our civilisation, the 
peaceable nature of our people (when they are not maddened 
by the aggression of foreigners), above all, the institution 
of the family, itself a little state — a political, social, and 
economic unit — these and other facts have rendered us 
independent of Government control to an extent which to 
Europeans may seem incredible. Neither the acts nor the 
omissions of the authorities at Peking have any real or 
permanent effect upon the life of our masses, except in 
so far as they register the movements of popular sentiment 
and demand. . . . No force will ever suffice to stir that huge 

1 A History of China (1897), p. 517. 


inertia. The whirlwind of war for a moment may ruffle 
the surface of the sea, may fleck with foam its superficial 
currents ; it will never shake or trouble the clear unfathom- 
able deep which is the still and brooding soul of China." 

This quality of permanence in the social structure of 
the race, persisting through and despite ever-recurring 
paroxysms of disorder, stands out as the dominant feature 
and the explanation of China's ancient civilisation, difficult 
for the European mind to apprehend in its full significance, 
but undeniable in its results. As Montaigne says : 

" The preservation of states is a thing in all likelihood 
exceeding our understanding. A civil policy (as Plato saith) 
is a mighty and puissant matter, and of very hard and 
difficult dissolution ; it often endureth against mortal and 
intestine diseases — yea, against the injury of unjust laws, 
against tyranny, against the ignorance and debordement of 
magistrates, and against the licentiousness and sedition of 
the people." 

If the institution of the family and the " three relations " 
of the Confucianist philosophy are the foundation of China's 
social structure, it is certain that the soul of the people 
clings to the monarchial principle as part of the order of 
things immutably established. When Dr. Sun Yat-sen 
declares the Republic to be " the formal declaration of the 
will of the Chinese people," the Utopian wish is father to 
the fantastic thought : herein, as in many other matters, 
he deceives himself and the truth is not in him. It may 
safely be asserted that, in the provinces of the interior, 
the lower masses of the population are scarcely aware of 
the final abdication of the Manchu Dynasty, and that they 
are quite unconscious of the fact that a Republic means 
the total disappearance of the Dragon Throne. In their 
eyes. President Yuan Shih-k'ai, issuing his mandates in 
the familiar language of Imperial Edicts, is, no doubt, 
merely a temporary occupant of that Throne, pending the 



re-establishment of Celestial harmony in accordance with 
immemorial usage ; the frock-coated Ministers and the 
military Tutiihs who come and go, dressed in a little brief 
authority, are in their eyes but transient phenomena, like 
the foreign armies which from time to time have been 
permitted to disturb the peace of the Middle Kingdom, 
inevitable results of a period of change. 


For the masses of the people, the fundamental question 
persists, outweighing all political formulae, transcending 
all the speculations of Young China — the eternal question 
of daily bread, now menaced by the spreading of internal 
disorder. Under a strong ruler, or under a form of govern- 
ment long established and recognised by precedent and 
prestige, an unstable equilibrium between population and 
food supply has been reached throughout countless genera- 
tions by means of infanticide and by the people's fatalistic 
acceptance of plague, pestilence and famine, as agents of 
wholesale destruction. The terrible butcheries which have 
invariably accompanied the establishment of a new dynasty 
or the suppression of a rebellion, have merely solved by swift 
bloodshed problems which must otherwise have been met 
by the less merciful solutions of starvation and disease. The 
whole history of China is, in fact, a pitiful tale of excessive 
population struggling with natural calamities, a population 
rigidly localised by geographical and political barriers, and 
by temperament lacking in the instincts and organisation 
for remedial measures of offence and defence. There have 
never existed for China such means of relief as Western 
Europe, confronted with similar problems on a smaller 
scale, has found in emigration, in organised poor relief 
and in the rapid transportation of food in bulk. To this 
day, despite a certain amount of emigration from Kuangtung 





and Fokhieii, and despite the introduction of railways, j 

missionary efforts for the relief of plague and famine, and j 

the Chinese Government's gradual perception of humani- i 

tarian principles, the outbreaks of famine, or the occurrence | 
of floods in any province, entails the swift and almost silent 
disappearance of countless lives, the weak and the destitute 

perishing on the spot, a few of the strong escaping to swell : 

the ranks of the needy in adjoining provinces. Every one I 

who has lived for any length of time in the interior of China ! 

has witnessed these desperate hunger-marches, these grim j 
conclusions to the philosophy ^ which declared, more than 

two thousand years ago, that the first duty which man owes to i 
Heaven and to his ancestors is to have posterity. Great 

armies scouring the country for grass and roots and bark of ' 

trees ; thousands of pitiful wanderers driven back to | 

starvation by the inhabitants of walled cities, as men upon . ' 

a crowded raft repel swimmers who would drag them down ; '] 
children offered for sale at the price of a bowl of rice ; a 

pitiful flotsam and jetsam of survivors making its way by I 

boat as far as Shanghai and the Yangtsze Treaty Ports — i 

all these things have been repeatedly witnessed of recent ■ 
years, and this despite the relief of pressure afforded by the 

slaughter of the Taiping and the IMahomedan rebellions. I 

nature's remedies. 

At this moment, almost unnoticed amidst the clamour of \ 

place-seeking politicians, a famine has claimed, and is still i 
claiming, thousands of victims in the provinces of Anhui, 

Kiangsu and Hupeh. The American Red Cross Society i 

and other philanthropic bodies are doing their best to j 
organise relief works, but the distress is so urgent and 
widespread that many must remain beyond reach of 

assistance. In an appeal for funds issued by the British j 


^ Mencius. I 



JNlissionary Societies in February last, the condition of the 
people in the famine district was summed up as follows : — 

"The break-up of families, gradual lapse into a condition 
of apatliy of the people of the Hwai River district with 
a population of five millions, of whom a million and a half 
will need relief ; severe famine last year, scant crops for 
five years past, work-animals eaten last year, business at 
a standstill, schools closed, the weak becoming beggars, 
the strong becoming robbers ; two to four hundred hangings 
or decapitations in town after town of this district during 
last year's famine ; sale of wives and daughters, often into 
lives of vice . . . ." 

This appeal, of its kind sadly familiar to all residents in 
China, stated that 600,000 families were actually starving 
— and added the statement, deeply significant in itself, 
that "six shillings will support a family for a month." 
It was signed by eight eminent missionaries, representing 
the great societies which have devoted so many noble lives 
and so many millions of money to China ; it assured the 
charitable that every precaution had been taken to prevent 
malversation of the relief funds, and it explained that the 
money subscribed would be used in the construction of 
relief works, such as dykes and canals, intended to prevent 
the recurrence of floods. The immediate object of the 
Missionary Societies, natural and laudable in itself, was to 
prevent this appalling loss of life ; to save these 600,000 
families, so that they might, in due course, become the 
ancestors of thrice that number. But supposing that object 
to be attained in this and similar instances for the space 
of even one generation, is it not certain that the hand of 
God or man must sooner or later fall the more heavily 
upon a race wliose natural rate and capacity of increase is 
so enormous? Would it not be better for China that her 
well-wishers and reformers, foreign or native, should attack 
at its source the fundamental cause of the nation's chronic 



calamities and strive to educate public opinion against 
marriages of minors and polygamy ? The natural increase 
of the population under existing conditions can only be 
kept in check by regular recurrence of the calamities of 
which we read on every page of China's history.^ In 
addition to the Taiping rebellion, which devastated nine 
provinces and cost between forty and fifty million lives, 
the most reliable Chinese authorities compute the death 
roll of four great famines which occurred in the first half 
of the nineteenth century at 45 millions. In 1878 the 
Shanghai Famine Relief Committee assessed the victims 
of the famine of that year at over nine millions. Between 
1892 and 1894, the North East provinces and Southern 
JNlongolia were decimated by drought and famine, while 
every year sees the weakest lives ruthlessly weeded out by 
cholera, typhus, beri-beri, bubonic plague and other diseases 
resulting from insanitary overcrowding. I^ook at it as we 
will, the problem to be solved in China is one of social 
economics, incurable either by religious teaching or by 
legislative formulae. The causes and symptoms of unrest 
which confront us to-day are the same as those which 
have afflicted the Empire throughout long centuries : 
compared with them, the question of JNIonarchy versus 
Republic becomes a matter of trifling and transient import- 
ance ; until they are relieved, philanthropic measures, such 
as the suppression of opium and the prevention of plague, 
can only serve, by reducing the death-rate, to aggravate 
the misery of the masses and the severity of finally 
inevitable cataclysms. Even if China were governed as 
India is governed, its elements of disorder and unrest 
shepherded and controlled by the strong arm of centralised 
authority, the vast natural increase of its millions would 
speedily present a problem unsolvable except by that whole- 
some emigration which neighbouring continents forbid. 



If we consider all the symptoms of unrest at present 
prevailing in China, we cannot fail to perceive, behind the 
political activities and aspirations which have led to the 
dethronement of the JNlanchus and the establishment of 
the Republic, the dark shadow of hungry millions, — a gaunt 
spectre of terrible menace. Above the plirase-making of 
the provincial assemblies, the disputations of reformers 
and the haggling of loan-mongers, we catch the deep- 
echoing tumult of devastated cities, the dull roar of the 
lawless and the outcast rushing to unwonted orgies of 
plunder. The relaxation of constituted authority and of 
ethical restraints, inevitable with the passing of a dynasty, 
produced, in every province and with extraordinary rapidity, 
identical results. Everywhere, as if by magic, sprang up 
bands of robbers on land and fleets of pirates afloat. 
Beginning with the pillage of outlying and defenceless 
districts, they speedily became bolder, holding the w^ealthy 
gentry to ransom, plundering the merchant, sacking pawn- 
shops and local Treasuries, and swiftly gathering into their 
caves of Adullam all those that were in debt and those that 
were discontented, — recruits from the famine districts, out- 
laws of all kinds and soldiers deserting from the army at the 
prospect of unremunerati^^e hostilities. Soon the walled 
cities saw their ragged and motley vanguards, and the 
citizens hastened to enlist for their protection troops 
recruited either from the nearest militia or from amongst 
the robber bands. 


And everywhere, as the contagion of lawlessness and 
looting spread, tliese defenceless citizens were mercilessly 
plundered by those to whom they had looked for defence, 
City after city, even to the provincial capitals, paid the 



penalty traditional in Chinese history, exacted by the 
have-nots " from the " haves " to celebrate the passing of a 
dynasty. The looting instinct assumed from the outset 
remarkably systematic and business-like methods of pro- 
cedure, so that from Peking to Canton the man with a 
rifle possessed himself, as a matter of course and generally 
without bloodshed, of the property of the man unarmed. It 
was typical of events at this stage, that Yuan Shih-k'ai's 
picked troops, the men of the Third Division who looted 
Peking in November, piled their plunder, none preventing 
them, in the Waiwupu enclosure and actually command- 
eered special trains on the Luhan Railway to carry it and 
themselves to Paotingfu and Honan. Typical also of the 
political chaos from which the Republic has sprung, is 
the fact that the first place looted by its mutinous soldiery 
was the Nobles' school, where the Nanking Delegates (the 
frock-coated flower of Young China) were quartered, wait- 
ing to accompany Yuan Shih-k ai on his promised journey 
to the Yangtsze. 


But most significant of all, as indicating a deliberate and 
widespread consensus of motives behind this carnival of 
plunder, was the immunity from every form of violence ex- 
tended to the persons and property of foreigners throughout the 
country ; an immunity which, in the absence of all recognised 
authority, implies something approaching to organisation 
amongst the plunderers and clear perception of the fact that 
foreign intervention would put an end to their lucrative 
opportunities. The foreign Press at Shanghai and missionaries 
in the interior were naturally led to draw, from this unusual 
phenomenon, conclusions flattering to Europeans' amour 
propre and to the enlightened intelligence of Young China. 
It may safely be predicted, however, that this gratifying 
conclusion will eventually need revision. When, for lack 

33 D 


of portable property, the craze for loot has waned, and when 
the leaders of the Republican movement are confronted, as 
they must be, with a violent reaction of discontent and 
disaffection, it is fairly certain that the mandarins of Young 
China will adopt the policy invariably followed by their 
predecessors in such emergencies, by diverting from them- 
selves to the hated foreigner the wrath of the exasperated 
*' stupid people." Much depends, for the moment, upon the 
Republicans' success or failure in the matter of foreign loans : 
the disaffected elements in the State may be held in leash for 
a time by doles of cash : but sooner or later, with or without 
loans, the old mandarin viot doi^dre will circulate once more 
in the Press, in the tea houses and at the lekin barriers, that 
the country's misfortunes are entirely due to the tyrannous 
rapacity of the foreigner and to the burden of his unjust 
indemnities. And the predatory classes, having little to lose 
and nothing to gain by granting further immunity to the 
European, will turn their hand against him as readily 
as of old. 

Before leaving this particular aspect of the prevalent 
uru'est, one or two typical instances, may be cited to show 
with what rapidity and determination the forces of disorder 
emerge and swoop upon their prey at the first signs of 
political upheaval. At Canton, within five weeks of the 
outbreak of the rebellion at Wuchang, piracy — always 
endemic on the Kwangtung coast — became a recognised, 
not to say an enviable, profession. Before the end of 
November, the Viceroy's Yamen and the Admiralty head- 
quarters had been looted, but whether the beneficiaries were 
pirates, or Kuangsi regulars, or merely patriotic amateurs, 
was never definitely known. On the 22nd of November, a 
band of 300 pirates arrived at Wuchow on the West River 
and, announcing themselves as Revolutionaries, demanded that 
the local officials should supply them with arms. Under 
orders from Canton, these were refused and, to end the 
discussion, the authorities opened fire on the pirates, killing 



a large number. The band dispersed, but subsequently 
possessed themselves of a torpedo boat and steamed away. 


In Anhui, a noted bandit named Wang, after defeating a 
detachment of troops sent to capture him, from Kaifeng, 
entered the city of Koyang at the head of a thousand 
ruffians. Here, after looting the residence and offices of the 
President of the Self- Government Society, he established a 
sort of Robin Hood administration, levying toll on the 
wealthy citizens and gentry, forbidding the closing of shops 
and preserving order of a kind. When eventually he 
departed, to make way for the armed forces of the Republic, 
lie took with him the treasure of the rich and the good 
wishes of the humble. 

Even more typical was the condition of affairs reported 
by a correspondent of the North China Dailij N'ews from 
the Huchow prefecture of Chekiang. As showing the 
general condition of the country, his statement is of per- 
manent interest and worthy of reproduction : — 

On December 10th I was in Shangpei and learned that 
the place was full of robbers. They gambled all day, and 
robbed at night. The people were afraid to lift a hand 
against them. I saw them in various groups gambling in 
the open places, and once pushed my way up to their table 
to ask why they thus openly broke the law. I received the 
usual answer that there was no * King's Law,' and that the 
new government had not yet come into power. Yet they 
courteously promised to gamble no more. Within a week 
they had taken possession of the city, with its 8,000 

" They announced their intention of protecting the city 
so long as they were left alone. They took over the pawn- 
shops, turned them into repositories for stolen property, 
placed an armed guard at the doors, and regulated the 
receipts and expenditure. They levied a tax of $140 per 
month upon the gentry of the place, who paid it, and then 

35 u 2 


went to the business men for reimbursement. They used 
the tea shops and chair hongs free of charge, and hved in 
the largest temple there ; they also gave the city and 
adjacent country ample protection from other robber bands. 

" The original band of twenty or thirty soon grew to a 
hundred. They took possession of aH the fire-arms either 
by * borrowing ' or by force, and soon added others by the 
disarming of soldiers at Shangpei and at Dangsi. They 
also announced that the next time the foreigner came they 
would ' borrow ' his gun also, peaceably, of course. 

Their band grew rapidly, both in numbers and in bold- 
ness. Every village of any importance from Dangsi to the 
mountains, and from Shangpei to the city of Huchow 
suffered, and not a man in Shangpei dared to lift his hand 
against them, nor send for help. Opium was sold in the 
streets as openly as tobacco, and gambling continued day 
and night. But the break came. 

" A rich farmer shot one of the band dead when they 
came to pillage his home. They then and there levied a 
fine of $2,000 on him, and took his eight-year -old son as 
hostage until the same was paid. Unfortunately the boy is 
still in their hands, else dead. This man began a movement 
against the band in which the country organisations joined. 
From every quarter the people came for the attack, and 
Chinese-like, they made their plans known. December 31st 
was set as the day of attack, and during the night previous 
to this they declared they would take the robbers or burn 
the village clean. Upon hearing this about half the band 
left the city, and as many of the residents as were able to 
get away. 

" On JMonday, January 1st, a pitched battle was fought on 
the plain west of the city between the robbers on the one 
side and about 2,000 country people on the other. The 
people won. Then began the slaughter, which still 
continues. More than twenty were beheaded there in 
Shangpei, and about sixty more in Shanjaopu and Wukang. 
And in every place where robberies had been committed, 
from two to forty were beheaded. The total number thus 
killed in the Wukanghsien is conservatively estimated as 
between 200 and 300. And the work still goes on." 



Lest it be thought that the condition of China thus out- 
Kned presents unprecedented features or results differing 
widely from those of the periodical dynastic rebellions of 
former days, let me quote from the writings of an English 
official residing in China at the time of the Taiping rebellion. 
Describing the origins of that rising and its gradual evolu- 
tion out of the local forays of Kuangsi bandits, into a 
widespread political movement, Mr. Meadows observes : ^ 

" A man, originally a mere thief, burglar or highwayman, 
whose sole object was the indiscriminate plunder of all who 
were unable to guard against him, finds it possible, in the 
state of general apathy to public order produced by continued 
oppression, to connect himself with a few fellow thieves, etc., 
and at their head to evade all efforts of the local authorities 
to put him down. As his band increases, he openly defies 
these authorities, pillages the local custom houses and 
treasuries, levies a tax on passing merchandise and a black- 
mail from the wealthier residents, but refrains from plundering 
anyone outright, and, while by exempting the great bulk of 
the population from all exactions, he prevents the rise of a 
general ill-feeling towards him, he as the scourge of the 
oppressors gains the latent or conscious sympathy of all 
classes. Now, these captains of bandits, whatever their 
origin, do not, it is true, while their followers amount merely 
to a few hundreds, choose to make themselves ridiculous or to 
rouse the general government to more serious efforts against 
them by issuing dynastic manifestoes or assuming the state 
of royalty. But w^hen they begin to count their followers 
by thousands, forming a regularly governed force, they declare 
openly against the hitherto reigning sovereign, whom they 
denounce as a usurper. And from the very first, when merely 
at the head of a small band, no Chinese, acquainted with the 
history of his country, can refuse to see in such a man a 
possible, if not probable, founder of a dynasty. JNIore than 
one Chinese dynasty has been founded by men like this ; 
the Ming dynasty which preceded the present was so founded ; 
and — what is really very important as an historical example 

The Chinese and their Rebellions, London, 1856. 



— the greatest of all native Christian dynasties, that of Han, 
was so founded. If the reader Avill refer to Du Halde he 
will find the founder of the Han dynasty described as a 
* private soldier ' who became a ' freebooter ' and ' captain of 
a troop of vagabonds.' " 

It is thus manifest that the classes addicted to acquisitive vio- 
lence have adopted, at the passing of the Manchus, precedents 
and proceedings sanctioned by usage long established, even 
to the polite deportment of robber bands. The anti-dynastic 
movement itself, in this instance, has differed from those of 
former times (as will be shown elsewhere) in that the rulers 
of the Forbidden City were quite prepared to go quietly, in 
return for their guaranteed pensions, and that the Republican 
programme has obviated (for the time being) the usual 
struggle for the Throne. But the conditions which followed 
swiftly throughout the country at the first signs of the 
passing of established order, have been precisely those to 
which the Chinese people have ever been exposed, and 
curiously submissive, at such times ; conditions which, so to 
speak, suspend by common consent the constitution of 
Confucian morality, and which effect a radical redistribution 
of property by means of 

" The good old rule, the simple plan. 
That they should take who have the power. 
And they should keep who can." 

This master passion for loot, which has nothing what- 
soever to do with the political opinions of the looters or the 
looted, is undoubtedly nothing more than an acute symptom 
of chronic economic distress, of the precarious hand-to- 
mouth existence of a large portion of the population. 
Robber bands, pirates. Imperialist and Republican troops, 
all are equally and quite impartially active whenever 
movable property and treasure are to be had for the taking ; 
but, as a general rule, the carnival of plunder which in- 
augurated the Republic was comparatively free from blood- 



shed. Here and there, notably in Shansi and Shensi, the 
country was devastated and many hves lost in the fighting 
between secret society banditti, revolutionary troops, and 
the local inhabitants. Occasionally, as at Sianfu, the 
Manchu garrisons were butchered, and at Nanking the 
proceedings of General Chang Hsiin's Imperialist troops 
ended in a massacre of students and innocent townspeople 
— but, on the whole, the loss of life has been small as 
compared with the destruction of property. The looting of 
Hsii Chou fu, by Chang Hsiin's troops on the 9th of 
February was unmarred by any serious resistance and con- 
ducted with almost polite cheerfulness by the soldiers. The 
North China Daily News correspondent, an eye-witness 
of the scene (which may fairly be regarded as typical), thus 
describes it : 

" The long-feared loot of the city came at last. Yesterday 
afternoon during the absence of General Chang Hsiin, who 
had gone south to talk peace with the revolutionaries, a large 
part of his troops mutinied and started from the railroad 
station to sack the town. Practically all the local guards 
joined them in a flash and the usual crowd of common people 
swarmed after them. . . . 

" The whole population seemed to go crazy at once. 
Everybody began to run somewhere else. The shopmen 
gazed stupidly at the tumult for a second and then they 
heard the cry * The rebels have entered the city ! ' I haA e 
seen some quick moving at various times of my life, but 
never anything to beat the speed with which the shops put 
up their front doors. As I turned the first corner I heard a 
second shout, ' It's the mutiny of Chang's troops ! ' which 
turned out to be correct. Immediately the rifles began to 
crack and the bullets to whiz. By the time I had reached 
home and secreted a few valuables, the whole town was in 
a mad loot. One is simply dumbfounded at the speed and 
accuracy with which these troops put their plans into 
execution. Not only were the shops looted, but every rich 
man's house was spotted and looted before the people began 
to realise what was going on. The richest family in the 



city, the Changs, is only a few steps from the Presbyterian 
compound, and we had a fine view of all that transpired. 
For half an hour a steady stream of silks, furs, quilts, silver, 
cash, and even horses and mules poured out of the gate. 
The booty was deposited in the West suburb, the soldiers 
returned for a second load, and by that time a living stream 
of the rabble was following in their wake. 

" As soon as the Changs had been looted out clean, atten- 
tion turned to the business section, with the result above 
stated. By midnight the shops were all done for, and for the 
remaining hours private families of any standing whatever 
were all included in the wreck." 

I have dealt at length with this central symptom of 
Chinese unrest because it is necessary that the reader should 
realise the truth, that the political ambitions and academic 
aspirations of Young China, which have loomed so large in 
the European Press, are in reality factors of minor signifi- 
cance as compared with the economic problems directly 
traceable to the peculiar social structure and transmitted 
tendencies of the race. More than that ; these new political 
experiments and the new bureaucracy thereto pertaining, 
cannot fail, by disturbing the business of the farmer and the 
merchant, to diminish and to waste the nation's actual 
resources, and thus, despite its extraordinary powers of 
recuperation, to make further disorders inevitable. 


Consideration of these fundamental facts leads us directly 
to the conclusion that, pending a radical, and necessarily 
slow, modification of the structural character of the race, the 
one thing needful for the restoration and maintenance of 
interna] order is the hand of a strong ruler ; one who shall 
govern in the manner to which the Chinese are accustomed 
— a r Orient ale — with sympathy for the deep-rooted instincts 
of the masses ; with due regard to local customs and 
Imperial traditions ; with justice if possible, but in any case 



with unswerving decision and courage. There have been 
instances in modern history, of autocratic rulers thus 
administering a nominally Republican Government — notably 
that of President Diaz in Mexico. The local habitation and 
the title of the executive are evidently matters of secondary 
importance, but upon the personality of the de facto ruler 
depend the destinies of the nation. From this point of 
view, and bearing in mind the composition and education of 
Young China, the prospect of a strong man being found and 
permitted to steer the ship of state through these perilous 
seas of change, seems indeed remote. For above all, the 
man who shall guide and govern the Chinese nation must 
command their respect by moral qualities ; and the most 
notable characteristic of Young China until now has been 
the complete lack of mutual respect and confidence amongst 
its leaders. The sudden infusion of Western radicalism into 
minds steeped by tradition and environment in the Confucian 
morality, seems to have produced a vast ferment of ideas 
but no national ideals ; a multitude of counsellors, but no 


If, looking beyond the organic symptoms of unrest, that 
wax or wane according to the fierceness of the struggle 
for bare life, we consider such other symptoms as have 
recently been most noticeable — such portents, for instance, 
as the sudden emergence of women into the political 
arena, the increasing frequency of political assassinations, 
the rivalry and divergence between North and South, and 
the accelerated tendency towards provincial autonomy — 
there must lie, I think, at the back of all our observations 
and opinions a vague but overpowering consciousness of 
the great mass of the people, for whom these things are 
but distant echoes of almost meaningless sound ; a vision 
of the vast unfathomable deep, upon whose wreck-stre^\Ti 



shores these restless spirits come and go. If, as Herbert 
Spencer says, the character of the aggregate is determined 
by the characters of the units, it must be in the future 
as it has been in the past ; once the fierce storms of 
rebelhon or invasion past, the nation's destinies must be 
determined by the slow-moving thoughts and deep-rooted 
instincts of ijie common people. In every great crisis, 
the dominant factor must be, not the conflicting opinions 
of the physicians, but the constitution of the patient. 

In considering the actual condition, and forecasting the 
future, of China, however, it were unwise to overlook the 
effect, which spreading inwardly from the sea-board, has 
gradually been, and is being, produced on the slow-moving 
masses by the impact of Western civilisation. In the 
more isolated and remote parts of the country, this effect 
may still be almost imperceptible ; there, to all appearances, 
the deep current of Chinese traditions and sage-taught 
philosophy flows unbroken, as it flowed in the Golden Age 
of the T'ang dynasty. Eppur si muove : even in regions to 
w^hich no newspaper penetrates, there have been repeated 
tales of barbarian invaders and rumours of the desecration of 
the capital ; the Boxer movement cast its ripples of super- 
stitious chauvinism and unrest far beyond the provinces 
affected ; and everywhere the tax-gatherer and the lekin 
collector have made the foreigners' indemnities a pretext for 
new and heavy exactions. For seventy years these uncom- 
fortable apparitions from the West have been permitted to 
disturb in ever- increasing numbers the immemorial dignity 
of the Middle Kingdom, and the fact that the Manchu 
dynasty has been unable, either by force or by statecraft, to 
eject them, undoubtedly contributed to the general consensus 
of opinion which declared them unfit to rule. Whilst, 
therefore, the ideas of the average Chinese tiller of the soil 
concerning the outside world remain almost as vague and 
unformed as they were at the time of the Taiping rebellion, 
it is clear that the changes in national education and 



competitive examinations decreed by the late Empress 
Dowager after her return to Peking in 1902, and the 
construction of railways, have insensibly affected the out- 
look of the city- dwellers, and particularly of those classes 
from which the " Western learning " students have been 


Travellers whose recent observations extend to the furthest 
western frontiers bear witness to the fact that in China, 
as in India, the impact of the West has produced an 
unmistakable effect upon the educated classes, breeding a 
spirit of insubordination to authority and unrest which must 
in time affect the political inertia of the masses. The upper 
strata of Chinese society, close-pressed by economic 
problems, and perturbed as to the future, looks for new 
opportunities for political agitation, aided by the activities 
of its secret societies and social-political organisations. The 
toiling masses must in time and to some extent be influenced 
by their activities, and learn something of their underlying 
motives, if only because these will find their expression, 
sooner or later, in new taxes or "patriotic loans." Hitherto 
the sons of Han have been accustomed to live their frugal, 
laborious, but not undignified lives under traditions sanctioned 
by two thousand years of splendid isolation, caring nothing 
for politics, asking nothing of social reformers. Now, 
confronted with menace of outer barbarians on all their 
borders, torn between the counsels of foreign missionaries 
and native politicians, confronted by the sudden removal of 
queues and other ancient landmarks, it would be strange if, 
amongst them, the professional agitator found no explosive 
materials ready to his hand. Nevertheless, when the 
politicians of to-day describe their ready-made Republic 
as the "deliberate and conscious expression of the will of 
the Chinese people," they are merely proclaiming, in the 



language common to demagogues, that they themselves are 
the people, and that wisdom shall die with them. 

The most cursory examination of the writings of native 
and foreign observers of the state of China since the 
conclusion of the Russo-Japanese war reveals a very general 
disposition to exaggerate the importance of those symptoms 
of unrest which arise from, and are in many cases confined to, 
the pohtical elements of Young China and at the same time 
to assume that they will speedily modify the deep-rooted 
instincts and impulses of the masses which have survived 
so many perils of change, outlived so many dynasties. 
That the European resident in China should find his 
historical sense and political perspective somewhat confused 
and obstructed by the turmoil at his very doors is not, in 
itself, surprising. The mandarins and students with whom 
he comes in contact at Peking or at the Treaty Ports 
represent sectional and class interests as remote as his 
own from those of the bulk of the Chinese people ; and the 
youthful vigour and enthusiasms of Young China are 
naturally infectious. In these enthusiasms he may be 
excused for occasionally losing sight of the interested bias 
which underlies this political ferment, and for ignoring 
the historical fact than many such storms have swept across 
the deep waters of this people's soul without altering its 
outlook on life or reducing its infinite capacity for atavistic 
resistance to change. Mongols, Manchus and native rulers 
in turn have had their little days, and gone their ways, 
leaving the Chinese people firmly fixed in their old 
traditions, their old beliefs. The Cantonese graduate from 
Yale, the vociferous student from Tokio and his sister from 
the American IMission School may proclaim with pathetic 
sincerity the dawn of a new era and the regeneration of 
their race. In the tumult of their clamour, the insistent 
voice of the past is lost ; while the people itself remains 
inarticulate as of old. And so it comes to pass that 
European diplomats, journalists, merchants and missionaries, 



" blinded by an hypothesis or carried away by an enthusiasm," 
find themselves committed to the profession of hopes, which 
all human experience has shown to be utterly delusive/ 


Even in the case of philosophical and dispassionate 
observers at a distance, untroubled by the personal equation 
and its needs, there frequently occurs a similar tendency. 
Professor Reinsch,^ for instance, who approaches the social 
and political problems of the Far East with much historical 
knowledge, critical insight and sympathy, fails, nevertheless, 
to distinguish between real and fundamental symptoms of 
unrest and those artificially created symptoms which tend to 
monopolise popular attention. He, like many another 
scholar, has thought more than he has learned about the 
Chinese people. While admitting that the masses are not 
yet politically conscious, he fails to realise their permanent 
economic consciousness and its inevitable result upon the 
situation now in process of development. He knows that 
most of the panaceas proposed by Young China are the 
superficial conclusions of immature minds," yet believes in 
the possibility and utility of a Chinese Parliament for the 
present generation.^ He likens the political unrest of the 
Chinese student to that of his Indian prototype, believing in 
" the deep unity of Asiatic civilisation." But the Manchus 
were never a dominant class of aliens like the British 
Raj in India. Influenced by a natural prejudice in favour 
of Republican ideals of Government, and believing that 
" since Japan inflicted upon Russia a signal defeat, the entire 
Orient is pulsating with a new life, all Asia vibrant to follow 

^ Fide Herbert Spencer, SIucIt^ o f Sociology, Chap. XL 
2 Intellectual and Political Currents in the Far East. 1912. 
2 Foreign as this conception is to the inherent character of Oriental 
authority," he says, "the exigencies of political life have prevailed and the 
counsellors of the Empire have placed the institution of a Parliament among 
the leading reforms which are to give China a new vitality." 




in the wake of Japan," it is natural enough that Professor 
Reinsch, like many a closet philosopher, should regard the 
activities of Young China's journalists and politicians as 
indicating a general and moral awakening of the Chinese 
people to political consciousness and vigorous nationalism. 
By the eye of faith, such observers see and welcome in the 
National and Provincial Assemblies the definite establish- 
ment of popular representation by election. Considered 
from this point of view, the adoption (in principle) by those 
bodies of woman suffrage and national conscription, emerges 
from the desert regions of jejune academics into that of 
fruitful and rational politics. The spectacle of Young 
China's eager and tumultuous progress towards the highest 
citadels of our own political Utopias seems, indeed, to have 
an almost hypnotic effect upon many observers. If only the 
precept of political virtue bore any relation to its practice, 
there would indeed be good cause for rejoicing at the results 
attained by the Commission of Constitutional study, at tiie 
establishment of a system of government which begins by 
solemnly excluding from the franchise all those *' who in 
business are not just and honourable, who have been accused 
and not yet cleared, who use opium, who have heart disease, 
who belong to a family of sullied reputation, or who do not 
know the language." But for those who have studied recent 
Chinese history, and who have personal experience of the 
fatal and universal facility of mandarins, old and new, for 
making endless regulations, there is something unusually 
pathetic in the disinterested optimism which takes such 
things seriously and regards them as healthy symptoms of 
regeneration. Those who have studied the practice, as 
distinct from the theory, of political careers in China are 
aware, for instance, that the category of "those who have 
been accused and not yet cleared " at the tribune of their 
own contemporaries includes practically every prominent 
member of the present government. More than this, they 
know that outside of the Southern Maritime provinces, there 



exists no such thing as pubhc opinion on poUtical questions 
in China, and that the "elected representatives of the 
people " are nothing more than the self-constituted repre- 
sentatives, of a small and ambitious class. In other words, 
that the appearance of Parliamentary institutions is just as 
deceptive and just as ineffective as the wording of Imperial 
Edicts has been since the days of the T'ang dynasty. 

Let us consider, however, the prevalent symptoms of 
unrest ; differentiating, as far as possible, between those 
of political origin and those resulting from the introduction 
of new factors and forces brought to bear upon the social 
and economic conditions of the masses. This method of 
classification must necessarily involve a certain amount of 
overlapping at points where politics and economics meet ; 
but it will serve. 

In the first category we may include : The fear of foreign 
aggression, the increasing tendency to provincial and local 
autonomy, the agitation concerning foreign loans and 
indemnities, and the cleavage between North and South. 

To the second category belong ; Indiscipline and 
acquisitive violence of Government troops and newly enrolled 
miUtias ; financial stringency ; dislocation of internal trade, 
caused by bank failures, depreciated currency, &c. ; increasing 
frequency of forced loans and currency levies by Republican 
and local authorities ; increase in the numbers and destitution 
of unemployed literati ; and of Western learning students ; 
fiscal chaos ; popular opposition to all direct taxation ; and 
failure to enforce the abolition of opium cultivation in many 


As regards the fear of foreign aggression and matters of 
external politics, it may be asserted, without fear of valid 
contradiction, that while the masses understand and care 
nothing about Imperial and national questions, their angry 



fears may be aroused, as easily under the Republic as 
they were under the Manchus, by appeals to their instinc- 
tive racial prejudices. If the students and gentry throughout 
the country, jealous for the preservation of their own 
opportunities and local autonomy, follow the lead of the 
turbulent spirits of Szechuan and Kuangtung, and embarrass 
the Central Government by declaring that the country is 
being sold to the foreigner, the stupid people may be 
expected to signify their assent in the usual manner, 
namely, by the killing and despoiling of missionaries and 
native Christians. But the fear of foreign aggression, of 
schemes of territorial aggrandisement at China's expense, 
has virtually no weight with the masses, for the simple 
reason that their outlook on life is confined to its immediate 
necessities and perplexities. The average farmer or coolie 
of Central China asks nothing of his rulers but to be allowed 
to pursue his vocation and to rear his numerous offspring in 
peace, and the history of the race stands as conclusive 
evidence that the fact of the ruler being an alien does not 
necessarily trouble him. He believes in the Dragon Throne 
as the coping-stone of that enduring edifice which has the 
family for its base ; he believes in the divine right of the Son 
of Heaven to rule, so long as he rules wisely and well — but 
he is generally indifferent to the provenance and policy of 
his rulers. Similarly, as regards the ever-vexed question of 
Peking versus the provinces, and the antagonism of North 
and South, the masses are generally indifferent because 
collectively ignorant in such matters. To the agricultural 
population of the northern and central provinces, the 
metropolitan administration is a dim and distant thing, 
associated chiefly with payments of land tax. Of North 
and South they reck but little ; for the millions of 
Shantung or Shansi the restless activities of the Cantonese 
are as remote and unimportant as the inscrutable ways 
of Europeans. The popular opposition to centralisation 
and foreign loans may therefore be ascribed, in the words 



of the scholar Yen Fu, to the reverberations of dis- 
contented journahsts." 

These things scarcely touch the masses. But the 
symptoms of unrest arising from new factors brought to 
bear upon the economic conditions of the people as the 
result of Young China's activities and the passing of the 
dynasty, are widespread and fraught with serious possibilities. 
The chaotic state and depreciation of the currency have 
inflicted upon the nation at large hardships as grievous as 
the pillage by Government troops and local militias. The 
unrest created amongst the literati and gentry by the 
abolition of the old classical system of competitive examina- 
tions has left its mark of genuine distress in every town and 
hamlet throughout the eighteen provinces. The queue- 
cutting mania ; the sudden introduction of strangely-garbed 
youths to replace the old order of officials ; the assumption 
of authority by military commanders, superseding the civil 
mandarins ; the local and spasmodic interference with opium 
cultivation, the general remission of land tax and lekin 
proclaimed in the first flush of Republican enthusiasm ; 
these things have created unmistakable symptoms of unrest, 
for they affect the very foundations of the body politic, the 
fixed habits and unalterable rights of the peaceable and 
industrious masses. 

These general conclusions are not applicable in their 
entirety to the Southern Maritime provinces (South Che- 
kiang, Fukhien, Kuangtung and Kuangsi), where the 
political consciousness of the people, and their legitimate 
aspirations to a wider measure of local autonomy, are 
undeniable. The Cantonese, for instance, understand and 
acutely resent the attitude of those white races which have 
legislated against Asiatic immigration ; they realise also the 
menace of foreign aggression and the significance of the 
Manchurian question. With the Cantonese, as one of the 
most important factors in the Chinese problem, I shall deal 
in a separate chapter. 

49 E 



As the result of the recent pohtical and literary activities 
of Dr. Sun Yat-sen and his adherents, reinforced by the 
sympathetic but indiscrirainating lucubrations of certain 
English and American writers, the impression has been 
widely created that the Chinese people, in expelling the 
INIanchu dynasty, have freed themselves from an unbearable 
burden of tyrannical oppression and misrule. It was 
natural enough that the leaders of the Republican party, 
with a keen utilitarian sense of dramatic effect, should 
justify their successful revolution by such an appeal to the 
sentiment and sympathy of Europeans in general and 
Anglo-Saxons in particular. The spectacle of a down- 
trodden race, nobly striving to be free, is one that carries its 
own instinctive appeal ; and Dr. Sun Yat-sen has been wise 
in his generation. I need not refer to the fantastic stories of 
the genesis of the revolution that have been circulated in 
the yellow journals of the United States ; English readers 
will find the unexaggerated results of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's 
constructive memory embodied in a little book ^ published 
by Dr. Cantlie, whose sincere sympathy for the Chinese 
reform movement, combined with personal enthusiasm for 
the reformer, has carried him into regions from which the 
chill breath of conflicting facts is completely excluded. Dr. 
Cantlie was Dean of tlie College of Medicine in Hongkong 

' Sun Yal-sen and the Awakening of China. Jarrolcl, 1912. 



from 1889 to 1896, and in this capacity came into contact 
with Sun Yat-sen, the first graduate of that college. His 
attitude towards this highly interesting but purely exotic 
type of Young China is frankly that of an enthusiastic 
admirer, and it goes far to explain the impressions created 
and the influence gained by Sun during his career as political 
conspirator abroad, and after his triumphal appearance on 
the scene as Provisional President at Nanking. In Dr. 
Cantlie's case, the original impression, as described in his 
own words, was that of a nature that draws men's regard 
towards him and makes them ready to serve him at the 
operating-table or on the battlefield ; an unexplainable 
influence, a magnetism which prevaiieth and finds its ex- 
pression in attracting men to his side." The spell cast by 
this personal magnetism was deepened, no doubt, by Dr. 
Cantlie's subsequent relations with Sun, the conspirator in 
exile, and especially by the part which he himself was 
privileged to play in obtaining the release of the reformer, 
kidnapped by the Chinese Legation in London in 1896. Of 
Sun's sincerity, of his courage, modesty, patriotism and 
intelligence, there can be no question. His remarkable 
personality and romantic career have rightly won for him 
the admiration and devotion of many of his countrymen, 
and his influence with the younger generation of foreign- 
educated Cantonese is undeniable. Nevertheless, when all 
is said and done, he remains a dreamer of dreams ; his ideals 
of government and reform are the result of undigested 
Socialistic theories combined with a purely imaginative and 
ideahsed conception of China and the Chinese. 

A semi- Oriental, reared and trained amongst Europeans, 
he reveals the Oriental's peculiar lack of historical con- 
sciousness, unredeemed by the European's attitude of 
scientific inquiry ; and his writings, as well as his public 
performances, display the almost inhuman lack of humour 
which characterises many of the world's political crusaders. 
His attitude and utterances in regard to the Manchus are 

51 E 2 


in themselves quite sufficient to prove Sun Yat-sen a blind 
leader of the blind ; in the cold light of history, they appear 
so fantastic and childish that, were it not for their visible 
effect upon Young China and Old England, they would 
scarcely be deserving of attention. Sun Yat-sen and other 
notable leaders of the Cantonese Republican party are dealt 
with elsewhere ; for the present we are concerned only with 
their version of the rise and fall of the Manchu dynasty and 
the genesis of the Chinese Republic. 


On the 5th of January, 1912 (that is to say, five weeks 
before the abdication of the Manchus), Sun Yat-sen, as 
President-Elect of the Republican Government at Nanking, 
and Wu Ting-fang, his Minister of Foreign Affairs, issued a 
*' Manifesto to all friendly nations from the Republic of China." 
This characteristic document is worthy of reproduction, if 
only as a remarkable example of purely imaginative history. 
The voice is the voice of Sun Yat-sen, but the hand seems 
to be the hand of the American political missionary. Here 
we have, directed against the whole Manchu hierarchy, the 
same wealth of vituperative energy which " W en-Ching " ^ 
and other followers of K'ang Yu-wei directed against the 
Empress Dowager and Jung Lu after the coup d'etat of 
1898; but with this essential difference, that the Reform 
leaders of that date aimed at a gradual reorganisation of the 
State by means of education and constitutional measures, 
whereas the foreign-educated Republicans of the present 
crisis are frankly iconoclastic and blind to the essentially 
conservative tendencies of the Chinese people. 

The following is the text of the Republican manifesto : — 

" Greeting. — The hitherto irremediable suppression of the 
individual quahties and national aspirations of the people 

' " The Chinese Crisis from Within/' by " Wen Ching " (Lim Boon-keng). 
Grant Richards, 1901. 



having arrested the intellectual, the moral, and the material 
development of China, the aid of revolution has been invoked 
to extirpate the primary cause, and we now proclaim the 
resultant overthrow of the despotic sway wielded by the 
Manchu Dynasty and the establishment of a Republic. 

" The substitution of a Republic for a Monarchical form 
of Government is not the fruit of a transient passion. It is 
the natural outcome of a long-cherished desire for broad- 
based freedom making for permanent contentment and 
uninterrupted advancement. It is the formal declaration of 
the will of the Chinese nation. 

" We, the Chinese people, are peaceful and law-abiding. 
We have waged no war except in self-defence. We have 
borne our grievances during two hundred and sixty-seven 
years of Manchu misrule with patience and forbearance. We 
have by peaceful means endeavoured to redress our wrongs, 
secure our liberty, and ensure our progress, but we have 
failed. Oppressed beyond human endurance we deemed it 
our inalienable right as well as our sacred duty to appeal to 
arms to deliver ourselves and our posterity from the yoke to 
which we have so long been subjected, and for the first time 
in our history inglorious bondage has been transformed to an 
inspiring freedom, splendid with the lustrous light of 

" The policy of the Manchu dynasty has been one of 
unequivocal seclusion and unyielding tyranny. Beneath it 
we have bitterly suffered, and we now submit to the free 
people of the world the reasons justifying the revolution and 
the inauguration of our present government. 

Prior to the usurpation of the Throne by the Manchus 
the land was open to foreign intercourse and religious 
tolerance existed, as is evidenced by the writings of Marco 
Polo and the inscription on the Nestorian tablet of Sian-fu. 

*' Dominated by ignorance and selfishness the Manchus 
closed the land to the outer world and plunged the Chinese 
people into a state of benighted mentality calculated to 
operate inversely their natural talents and capabilities, thus 
committing a crime against humanity and the civilised 
nations almost impossible of expiation. 

"Actuated by a desire for the perpetual subjugation of the 



Chinese, by a vicious craving. for aggrandisement and wealth, 
the Manchus governed the country to the lasting injury and 
detriment of our people, creating privileges and monopolies 
and erecting about themselves barriers of exclusion in national 
customs and personal conduct which have been rigorously 
maintained throughout the centuries. 

" They have levied irregular and unwholesome taxes upon 
us without our consent, have restricted foreign trade to 
Treaty Ports, placed lekin embargoes upon merchandise in 
transit ; and obstructed internal commerce. 

They have retarded the creation of industrial enterprises; 
rendered impossible the development of natural resources, 
and wilfully neglected to safeguard vested interests. 

" They have denied us a regular system and impartial 
administration of justice ; inflicted unusual and cruel punish- 
ments upon all persons charged with offences whether 
innocent or guilty ; and frequently encroached upon our 
sacred rights without due process of law. 

" They have connived at official corruption ; sold offices to 
the highest bidder ; and have subordinated merit to influence. 

"They have repeatedly rejected our most reasonable 
demand for better government, and have reluctantly con- 
ceded pseudo-reforms under most urgent pressure, making 
promises without intention of fulfilling them ; and obstructing 
efforts towards national elevation. 

**They have failed to appreciate the anguishing lessons 
taught by the foreign Powers in the process of years, and 
have brought themselves and our people beneath the 
contempt of the world." 

(Here follows a declaration of the Republic's foreign 
policy, which concludes as follows :) 

" It will be our constant aim and firm endeavour to build 
upon a stable and enduring foundation a national structure 
compatible with the potentialities of our long-neglected 

" We will strive to elevate our people ; secure them in 
peace, and legislate for their prosperity. 

"To those Manchus who abide peacefully within the 


Dr. Srx Vat-sex. 

rhoto, Manuel. 


limits of our jurisdiction we will accord equality and give 

" We will remodel our laws ; revise our civil, criminal, 
commercial and mining codes ; reform our finances ; abolish 
restrictions to trade and commerce, and ensure religious 

"The cultivation of better relations with foreign peoples 
and governments will ever be before us. It is our earnest 
hope that the foreign nations who have been steadfast in 
sympathy will bind more firmly the bonds of friendship, that 
they will bear in patience with us in the period of trial 
confronting us in our reconstructive work, and that they 
will aid us in the consummation of the far-reaching plans 
which we are now about to undertake, and which they have 
been so long and so vainly urging upon the people of this 
our country. 

" With this message of peace and good-will the Republic 
of China cherishes the hope of being admitted into the 
family of nations, not merely to share their rights and 
privileges but also to co-operate with them in the great and 
noble task called for in the upbuilding of the civilisation of 
the world. 

" (Signed) Sun Yat-sex, President, 
" (Countersigned) Wu Ting-fang, 

" Minister for Foreign A^airs, 

"Dated, Nanking, 5th day of the 10th Month of the First 
year of the Republic of China. (5th January, 1912)." 


On February 15th, three days after the Manchu Govern- 
ment's Edicts of abdication. Sun Yat-sen took the leading 
part in a ceremony wherein was conspicuously displayed 
the perfervid emotionalism which is one of Young China's 
peculiar characteristics. This was the formal offering of 
sacrifice, obeisance and prayer before the ancestral tablet 



of Chu Yuan-chang, the mendicant priest who, as leader of 
a successful rebellion, expelled the Mongols in 1368 and 
became the founder of the native dynasty of the Mings. 
That Sun Yat-sen and his strange following of students, 
youthful generals and Japanese advisers should do honour to 
the memory of one who had driven forth an alien ruler, was 
natural and fitting enough ; but that they should exalt the 
memory of the Mings, on their merits, above the Manchus, 
and describe the latter as barbarians and despots, indicated 
either lamentable ignorance of history or constitutional 
disregard of truth. Making all reasonable allowance for the 
dramatic instincts aroused by a ceremony which carried its 
direct appeal to an ancestor-worshipping race, the prayer 
offered up by Sun Yat-sen at the shrine of Hung Wu 
strikes a distinct note of bombastic insincerity and the 
whole performance savours of a deliberate pose, pour 
epater le bourgeois.'' The following translation of the 
President's prayer was published in The Times of the 3rd 
of April. 

" Of old, the Sung dynasty became effete, and the Liao 
Tartars and Yuan dynasty Mongols seized the occasion to 
throw this domain of China into confusion to the fierce 
indignation of gods and men. It was then that Your 
Majesty, our founder, arose in your wrath from obscurity, 
and destroyed those monsters of iniquity, so that the 
ancient glory was won again. In twelve years you con- 
solidated the Imperial sway, and the dominions of the 
Great Yii were purged of pollution and cleansed from the 
noisome Tartar. Often in history has our noble Chinese 
race been enslaved by petty frontier barbarians froni the 
North. Never have such glorious triumphs been won over 
them as Your Majesty achieved. But your descendants 
were degenerate and failed to carry on your glorious 
heritage ; they entrusted the reins of government to bad 
men, and pursued a short-sighted policy. In this way they 
encouraged tlie ambitions of the eastern Tartar savages, and 
fostered the growth of their power. They were thus able 
to take advantage of the presence of rebels to invade and 



possess themselves of your sacred capital. From a bad 
eminence of ^lory basely won, they lorded it over this most 
holy soil, and our beloved China's rivers and hills were 
defiled by their corrupting touch, while the people fell 
victims to the headman's axe or the avenging sword. 
Although worthy patriots and faithful subjects of your 
dynasty crossed the mountain ranges into Canton and the 
far south, in the hope of redeeming the glorious JVJing 
tradition from utter ruin, and of prolonging a thread of the 
old dynasty's life, although men gladly perished one after 
the other in the forlorn attempt, heaven's wrath remained 
unappeased, and mortal designs failed to achieve success. A 
brief and melancholy page was added to the history of your 
dynasty, and that was all. 


" As time went on, the law became ever harsher, and the 
meshes of its inexorable net grew closer. Alas, for our 
Chinese people, who crouched in corners and listened with 
startled ears, deprived of power of utterance, and with 
tongues glued to their mouths, for their lives were past 
saving I Those others usurped titles to fictitious clemency 
and justice, while prostituting the sacred doctrines of the 
sages, whom they affected to honour. They stifled public 
opinion in the Empire in order to force acquiescence in 
their tyranny. The JNlanchu despotism became so thorough 
and so embracing that they were enabled to prolong their 
dynasty's existence by cunning wiles. But even so, 
rebellions occurred. In Yung Cheng's reign, the Hunanese 
Chang Hsi and Tseng Ching preached sedition against the 
dynasty in their native province, while in Chia Ching's reign 
the Palace conspiracy of Lin Ching dismayed that JNIonarch 
in his capital. These events were followed by rebellions in 
Szechuan and Shensi : under Tao Kuang and his successor, 
the Taipings started their campaign from a remote Kuangsi 
village. Although these worthy causes were destined to 
ultimate defeat, the gradual trend of the national will 
became manifest. At last our own era dawned, the sun of 



freedom had risen, and a sense of the rights of the race 
animated men's minds. In addition, the Manchu bandits 
could not even protect themselves. Powerful foes en- 
croached upon the territory of China, and the dynasty 
parted with our sacred soil to enrich neighbouring nations. 
The Chinese race of to-day may be degenerate, but it is 
descended from mighty men of old. How should it endure 
that the spirits of the great dead should be insulted by the 
everlasting visitation of this scourge ? 


" Then did patriots arise like a whirlwind or like a cloud 
which is suddenly manifested in the firmament. They began 
with the Canton insurrection : then Peking was alarmed by 
Wu Yi'ieh's bomb (in 1905). A year later Hsii Hsi-lin fired 
his bullet into the vitals of the Manchu robber chief, En 
Ming, Governor of Anhui. Hsiung Cheng-chi raised the 
standard of liberty on the Yangtsze's banks : rising followed 
rising all over the Empire, until the secret plot against the 
Regent was discovered, and the abortive insurrection in 
Canton startled the capital. One failure followed another, 
but other brave men took the place of the heroes who died, 
and the Empire was born again to life. The bandit Manchu 
Court was shaken with pallid terror, until the cicada shook 
off its shell in a glorious regeneration, and the present 
crowning triumph was achieved. The patriotic crusade 
started in Wuchang ; the four corners of the Empire 
responded to the call. Coast regions nobly followed in 
their wake, and the Yangtsze was won back by our armies. 
The region south of the Yellow River was lost to the 
Manchus, and the north manifested its sympathy with our 
cause. An earthquake shook the barbarian Court of 
Peking, and it was smitten with a paralysis. To-day it has 
at last restored the Government to the Chinese people, and 
the five races of China may dwell together in peace and 
mutual trust. I^et us joyfully give thanks. How could 
we have attained this measure of victory had not Your 
Majesty's soul in heaven bestowed upon us your protecting 
influence ? 



" I have heard say that triumphs of Tartar savages over 
our China were destined never to last longer than a hundred 
years. But the reign of these Manchus endured unto 
double, ay, unto treble, that period. Yet Providence 
knows the appointed hour, and the moment comes at last. 
We are initiating the example to Eastern Asia of a 
Republican form of Government ; success comes early or 
late to those who strive, but the good are surely rewarded 
in the end. Why then should we repine to-day that victory 
has tarried long ? 

" I have heard that in the past many would-be deliverers 
of their country have ascended this lofty mound wherein is 
your sepulchre. It has servxd to them as a holy inspiration. 
As they looked down upon the surrounding ri^'ers and 
upward to the hills, under an alien sway, they wept in the 
bitterness of their hearts, but to-day their sorrow is turned 
into joy. The spiritual influences of your grave at Nanking 
have come once more into their own. The dragon crouches 
in majesty as of old, and the tiger surveys his domain and 
his ancient capital. Everywhere a beautiful repose doth 
reign. Your legions line the approaches to the sepulchre ; 
a noble host stands expectant. Your people have come 
here to-day to inform your Majesty of the final victory. 
May this lofty shrine wherein you rest gain fresh lustre 
from to-day's event and may your example inspire your 
descendants in the times which are to come. Spirit ! Accept 
this offering ! " 

Expatiating, in the North China Daily News, on the 
historic and political significance of this picturesque cere- 
mony, Mr. Lim Boon-keng (author of The Chinese Crisis 
from Within ") observed that " it was worth more than ten 
victories and put the coping-stone to the great work to 
which President Sun Yat-sen had devoted the best part of 
his life, and for the completion of which the whole Chinese 
people of 400,000,000 had patiently prayed, secretly laboured 
and finally accomplished,'' Mr. Lim Boon-keng, it is need- 
less to state, is a Cantonese ; he is a man of good education 
and position, having served as a member of the Legislative 



Council of Singapore. In 1898 he was a staunch disciple 
of K'ang Yu-wei and a most loyal subject of His Manchu 
JNIajesty, Kuang Hsli, friend and protector of the Con- 
stitutional reformers. When, therefore, he concludes an 
extravagant panegyric of the Republican leader by referring 
to the Mings as " national heroes, whose house was cruelly 
destroyed by the Manchu usurpers," it is impossible to avoid 
the conclusion that he and his friends have sought to gain 
the sympathy and support of the outside world by deliberate 
distortion of historical facts. His statements, in fact, are 
no more to be taken seriously than that of Sun Yat-sen 
which informed the shade of Hung Wu that " the dragon 
crouches in majesty as of old. Everywhere a beautiful 
repose doth reign." 

It requires neither intimate knowledge of Chinese history 
nor close acquaintance with the Chinese people, to realise 
that if the Manchus have lost the Dragon Throne, it is not 
because they were tyrants and despots, but because they 
were inefficient, ignorant and effete ; because the tribute 
which they consumed, and the power and patronage which 
they exercised by tradition of sovereignty was coveted by a 
body of men better organised, more intelligent and more 
determined than themselves; because the advance of popular 
education, the work of the vernacular Press, and, above all, 
repeated foreign encroachments and invasions, had impressed 
upon the restless intelligence of the Cantonese the fact that 
the Manchus were no longer to be feared. In other words, 
the time had come for one of those periodical upheavals, 
which, as the history of the nation proves, inevitably occur 
when the rulers have lost the will or the power to govern by 
force. The history of the dynasty since the expulsion of the 
Mings, even in the days of the famous Emperor K'ang Hsi, 
proves that the turbulent population of the South-Eastern 
maritime provinces has always been eager for any and every 
opportunity of successful revolt. Rebellion in China, as I 
have shown in a previous chapter, is a direct result of 



economic pressure, and the right to rebel has been recognised 
for ages as a safety valve and an element of structural 
stability providing either a rapid antidote or a quietus to 
symptoms of degeneration in the Empire's rulers. 


Let US consider, however, the passing of the Manchus, not 
through the distorted medium of this Repubhcan manifesto 
but in the light of established historical facts. It is to be 
observed, in the first place, that the native dynasty of the 
Mings was overthrown, not by an invasion of the Manchus, 
but by a Chinese rebellion which commenced in Shensi 
and devastated the country during nine years of civil war. 
When the Imperialist forces had been finally routed, when 
the rebel chief Li Tsz-ching had taken possession of Peking 
and the last of the Mings had hanged himself on the 
Coal-hill; when Li had already declared the establishment 
of a new Chinese dynasty in his own person ; then it 
was that the Manchus were invited by Wu San-kuei, an 
irreconcilable Imperialist general, to join their forces to his 
own for the restoration af the Mings. Li Tsz-ching's army, 
having been defeated by the aid of the Manchus in a great 
battle near Shan-hai-kuan, fled southwards and west, after 
looting Peking, pursued by the impetuous Wu San-kuei. 
The Manchus found the Throne unoccupied and the country 
weary of strife. Thus was their dynasty established ; thus 
were the Mings o\'erthrown, having exhausted the mandate 
of Heaven, by the same process of internal rebellion which 
had made them rulers of the Empire. 

The Manchus having occupied the vacant Throne of 
China and made good their authority, wherever contested, 
by force of arms, their rulers displayed administrative and 
political wisdom of a kind which proved that in their two 
generations of intercourse and warfare in IVIanchuria, the 
" Eastern Tartar savages" had assimilated all that was essen- 



tial of the superior civilisation of the Chinese. At the outset, 
they had recourse to a feudal system of administration, 
availing themselves everywhere of the services of the ablest 
and most influential Chinese as vassal princes and governors ; 
respecting everywhere the local customs and sentiments of 
the people ; retaining the Confucian philosophy and literary 
traditions as the foundation of good government. Under 
the illustrious Emperor K'ang Hsi (second of the dynasty), 
China was wisely and orderly governed, and the govern- 
ment itself gradually centralised. No educated Chinese, 
unless utterly blinded by political prejudice, will deny that 
the rule of this sovereign brought more glory to China and 
more good to her people than that of any Ming Emperor. 
A brave soldier, a wise statesman and a great scholar, with 
the best interests of the people at heart, his reign was marked 
by the encouragement of learning, by the suppression of 
disorder, and by material advance in every direction. The 
long reign of the fourth Emperor — Ch'ien Lung — further 
increased the prestige of the dynasty, enlarged the borders 
of the Empire and brought peace and prosperity to the 

It is witli the death of this monarch that the decline of 
the jNlanchu house begins, the physical and moral fibre of 
the descendants of Nurhachi having degenerated as the 
result of their tribute-fed ease and the enervating influences 
of their licentious Court. With the accession of Chia 
Ch'ing, the ever-latent activities of the secret societies of 
the South assumed the form of organised opposition to 
the government. The "White Lily" insurrection devastated 
six provinces between 1797 and 1806 ; hardly was it 
suppressed than another rebellion broke out in Hunan. 
Piracy and lawlessness became rampant throughout the 
land ; corruption and disorganisation steadily increased at 
j^ekirig. Some idea of the rate at which disintegration 
proceeded may be gathered from a comparison of the recep- 
tion and results of Lord Macartney's Mission to the Court 



of Ch'ien Lung in 1795, and that of Lord Amherst's 
Mission to His Majesty Chia Ch'ing in 1816. 



It would be wrong, however, to describe the insurrec- 
tionary and revolutionary tendencies which henceforth 
became chronic in the central and southern provinces as 
solely, or even directly, due to popular dissatisfaction with 
the morals and proceedings of the Sovereign and his Court. 
As I have endeavoured to show, the basic cause of unrest in 
China has always been economic. If we examine the most 
trustworthy information available on the subject of China's 
vital statistics we find therein ample justification for the 
conclusion that in this instance, as in many others, the 
movement of large masses of the people in arms against 
constituted authority synchronised with a period in which, 
as the direct result of prolonged peace and prosperity, the 
problem of population versus food-supply had again become 
acute. According to the carefully tested evidence of Pere 
Amiot (Jesuit missionary at the Court of Ch'ien Lung), the 
total population of China proper at the first census taken by 
the INIanchus after the restoration of order in 1651, was 
about 55 millions ; which, as Rockhill ^ shows, is something 
less than the number given in the first census of the Han 
dynasty (a.d. 1) and about the same as that which Kublai 
Khan found at the time of the establishment of his Mongol 
dynasty in 1295. The last census taken by the Mings, 
sixty years before their end, had shown a population of 64 
millions. In other words the rebellion against the Mings 
was accompanied by the slaughter usual during such up- 
heavals, and the Manchus took over an Empire unafflicted 

^ Inquiry into the Poimlation of China, by VV. W. Rockhill. Washington, 



by overcrowding. K ang Hsi's long campaigns against W u 
San-kuei and the other vassal chiefs who resisted his policy 
of centralisation, served to check the natural increase of the 
population until the year 1681, when peace became generally 
established in China proper. According to the Tung Hua 
Lu, the official census of 1680 showed a total of about 75 
million souls. From this time forward we find the popula- 
tion steadily increasing. The figures given by Rockhill, 
after careful comparison and analysis of evidence, show that 
in 1720, three years before the death of K'ang Hsi, the total 
had reached 125 millions. In 1743, at the beginning of 
Ch'ien Lung's reign it was 143 millions. In 1783, towards 
the end of that reign, the Chinese Government's official 
estimate was 283 millions ; in 1812, under Chia Ch'ing, it 
had increased to 360 millions. In 1842, before the out- 
break of the Taiping rebellion, the figure had risen to 413 
millions. In ] 862, after the vast slaughter and wastage of 
that insurrection, we find the Chinese Government's census 
recording a total of 261 millions. In addition to the losses 
occasioned by battle, murder and sudden death during the 
period of extreme pressure, it is recorded in the dynastic 
annals that by four great famines (in 1810, 1811, 1846 and 
1849) the population had been reduced by about 45 

We are therefore undoubtedly justified in tracing a direct 
connection between the rapidly increasing pressure of 
population in Chia Ch'ing's reign and those manifestations of 
widespread unrest, which at that time began to take definite 
shape and direction against the Manchu dynasty. As usual, 
these symptoms of disorder first showed themselves in the 
mountainous sea-board provinces of south-eastern China, a 
region whose inhabitants have always been distinguished 
from the passive resisters of the alluvial plains by their 
adventurous and daring character, by those qualities, in fact, 
which, all the world over, belong to the mariner and the 
mountaineer. Tlie fact requires emphasis that it needed 



fifty years of desultory warfare to bring these provinces 
under the control of the JNIanchu warrior-kings, and that, 
even after their political subjugation, there remained always 
a nucleus of rebellion and a focus of unrest in the secret 
societies, which had for their political creed the overthrow of 
the Tartar dynasty and the restoration of the Mings. 


The separatist tendencies common to coastland peoples 
have ever been aggravated in the Chinese of Fukhien, 
Kuangtung and Kuangsi by their geographical isolation, 
by the barriers of the unbroken mountain range w^hich 
separates them from the central provinces on their northern 
and western borders. To the traditional characteristics of 
the Cantonese and the qualities which have made them the 
political and intelligent elite of the Chinese race, I refer 
elsewhere : but I may here observe, that the activities of the 

White Lily," Triad, and other secret societies which 
derived their inspiration and organisation from Canton, were 
more or less latent during the reigns of K'ang Hsi, Yung 
Cheng and Ch'ien Lung, but became more and more 
formidable as the pressure of increasing population aggravated 
the difficulties of the individual struggle for existence. For 
two hundred years after the establishment of the Manchu 
dynasty, these secret societies worked to all intents and 
purposes for the protection of the local interests of pirates, 
land robbers, and other outlaws, the organised state of 
China's chronic malcontents ; but as the moral of the 
Government weakened and as disaffection increased with the 
pressure of population, they showed — as they show to-day — 
a remarkable capacity for political intrigue on a large scale, 
and their activities rapidly assumed the complexion and 
authority of a widespread national and anti-dynastic move- 
ment. The Taiping rebellion, which temporarily relieved 
the enormous burden of population in southern and central 

65 F 


China, was the direct result of the activities of the Triad 
Society, stimulated by a semi-religious, semi-piratical 
fanaticism similar to that which animated the Boxers in 
1900 ; and the suppression of that rebellion, effected with 
the assistance of foreigners, merely afforded a breathing 
space in the march of events which clearly foreshadowed the 
collapse of an effete dynasty. Writing of that rebellion, in 
the j^ear 1856, JNleadows^ hesitated between the probabilities 
either of the expulsion of the Manchus, or of their com- 
plete re-establishment in power after purifying hardships and 
a bracing struggle." He failed to perceive, however, that 
the military organisation and race cohesion of the Imperial 
clans were already things of the past, and that if the Manchu 
rule were to survive, it could only be by the exercise of 
shrewd state-craft on the Divide et Impera principle, and 
by securing the continued loyalty of the ablest and most 
influential Chinese Viceroys and Governors. 


The infinite resource, indomitable courage and personal 
influence of the Empress Dowager, Tzu Hsi, undoubtedly 
rescued the dynasty at a crisis which, but for her, would have 
brought the Manchus' rule to an end with the flight and 
death of her husband, the Emperor Hsien Feng. Loyalty 
to her person and enthusiasm for her genius inspired for two 
generations the untiring efforts of China's foremost soldiers 
and statesmen in upholding the Dragon Throne — picked 
men, of the stamp of Tso-Tsung-t'ang, Tseng Kuo-fan, and 
I^iu K'un-yi. For fifty years hers was the brain, hers the 
strong hand, that held in check the rising forces of disin- 
tegration ; and when she died, it required no great gifts of 
divination to foretell the approaching doom of the Manchu. 
She herself perceived it clearly enough. She saw the Empire 
threatened by irresistible forces of aggression from without 

^ The Chinese and their Rebellions ^ p. 106. 


H.I.H. Princk Tsai-Chex, son of Pkince Ch'ixg, 
Special Ambassador to the Coronation of King Edward 




and incurable disorganisation within ; she knew her clansmen 
to be hopelessly sunken in lethargic inefficiency and corrup- 
tion, and she realised that the only hope of preserving the 
Empire under lingering traditions of Manchu sovereignty 
lay in a complete fusion of the races and in the surrender of 
the Tribute-eaters' " privileges and pride of caste. Her 
edicts, during and after the " return from the wilderness " in 
1901 and 1902,^ clearly reveal appreciation of the dangers 
which threatened not only the Manchu dynasty, but the 
survival of China as a sovereign State. 

As a matter of fact, pace Dr. Sun Yat-sen's denunciations 
of Manchu despotism and tyrannical abuses of power, the 
latter-day descendants of the virile stock which established 
the dynasty have not been rulers of China, in any accepted 
sense of the term, for the past fifty years ; nor have the 
Manchus been even a completely distinct race. A few slum- 
bering garrisons of soi-disant Tartars still held their traditional 
places at various provincial centres, eating the Imperial rice 
in uselessness ; but none of them ever retained either fighting 
instincts of pride of race. 

" Ahj take the cash and let the credit go 
Nor heed the rumble of a distant drum." 

So it was with the eight Banners corps at Peking and 
Moukden. The pride and panoply were there ; the Iron- 
capped Princes and all the ancient pomp and circumstance 
of a military hierarchy ; but the spirit was dead within them. 
The originally pure Manchu stock of the three eastern 
provinces had been gradually assimilated, by intermarriage 
and other causes, in the ever-rising tide of the Chinese 
population; even their language had died out, except 
amongst a few outlying tribes in Hei-lung-chang, so that 
the race possessed neither literature nor enduring traditions 
capable of arousing it from lethargic decay. Two centuries 
of Capuan ease had sufficed to reduce the Peking Bannermen 

' Vide China under the Empress Dowager, pp. 427-8. 

67 F 2 


to the condition of that genus of wingless ants which breeds 
no workers, and which, to hve, must be served by com- 
munities of toilers. Relieved by their system of State 
grants from all necessity of mental or bodily activity, clinging 
always to the capital to draw their monthly doles of idleness, 
what wonder if they degenerated into a hopeless mob of poor 
relations, parasites that lived in corruption and intrigue about 
a Throne which they could no longer defend ? 

Tzu Hsi, with her clear vision, realised this bitter truth : 
none knew better than she the rottenness of the Manchu 
state. If she ruled China, as she did for half a century, it 
was not because of any help that she received from ignorant 
and effete kinsmen, for amongst them all only two proved 
worthy of her confidence, or in any way comparable with 
the best of the Chinese statesmen who served her. She 
maintained the prestige and authority of her reign by sheer 
force of her own courage and intelligence, instinctively 
solving the problems of government by a masterly policy, 
preserving its equilibrium by the shrewdest use of all avail- 
able resources, and by the constant diversion of hostile 
elements. But when, towards the close of her days, after 
the Boxer debacle, she realised that the future of China and 
the fortunes of her House must depend upon the immediate 
adoption of a policy of radical reform, she realised also that 
her INIanchu kinsmen were individually and collectively 
incapable of the efJbrt. She perceived that the intellectual 
awakening of the Chinese people, the birth of new forces of 
nationalism, must ere long deprive the Manchu drones of 
their privileges and pride of place. She saw the restraining 
influences of Confucianism being rapidly undermined by the 
" new learning," and the divine right of her Imperial House 
threatened by the aspirations of Young China, and she 
realised that Manchu rule, in its existing form, was surely 
doomed. She foresaw, too, that with her own disappearance 
from the scene there would be no firm hand to steer the 
ancient ship of State through the shallows of change and the 



rocks of foreign aggression, so that, unless means could be 
found for the fusion of Manchus and Chinese, the near future 
must surely witness the expulsion of the tribute-fed clans, 
and with it, in all probability, cataclysmic disasters to the 
Chinese Empire. 

Tzii Hsi's success in governing the Empire, unsupported 
by any material or moral forces in the ruling caste, was 
largely due, in the earlier part of her career, to the lack of 
all inter-communication and organisation among her Chinese 
subjects. Prior to the introduction of modern education, 
and the vernacular Press, whereby was created Young 
China, there was no general recognition of the utter help- 
lessness of the Manchu hierarchy nor of the trend of foreign 
politics. But after the Boxer rising and still more after 
the Russo-Japanese war, political consciousness became 
rapidly awakened amongst the educated and articulate 
classes, and stimulated to revolutionary tendencies by an 
ever-increasing number of Western-learning malcontents. 
The weakest of all the weak points in the Manchu rule of 
recent years lay in their utter ignorance and indifference to 
matters of foreign policy, and their neglect of the most 
ordinary precautions for the maintenance of their threatened 
sovereignty, especially in Manchuria. Their political 
activities abroad were practically confined to the sending of 
missions to Europe and America, missions with high- 
sounding titles and large suites, which were simply ex- 
pensive (and quite useless) pleasure trips for those con- 
cerned. And while official ignorance slumbered in the 
Manchus' high places, Chinese official corruption played its 
part in exposing the territories of the Empire to encroach- 
ment by earth-hungry Powers, corruption of which the 
Manchu regime was ever the beneficiary, and the late Chief 
Eunuch, Li Lien-ying, pastmaster in ordinary. When Li 
Hung-chang gave Russia a right of way for the invasion 
and conquest of Manchuria by railway and bank, he sinned 
with impunity, because of the complicity of some and the 




apathy of others in the Forbidden City, at a time when 
piibUc opinion in the provinces had Uttle or no means of 
expressing itself coherently. The subsequent seizure of 
Kiao-chao, the Boxer rising, Russia's repeated refusal to 
evacuate the Three Provinces, her war with Japan, and the 
hitter's gradual occupation of the position which Russia had 
held, all these were the inevitable results of the apathetic 
stupidity and corruption of the Mandarin system, against 
which, in her later years, Tzii Hsi herself fought in vain. 
And just as Russia's purposes were served by the venality 
of Li Hung-chang, so Japan found an instrument ready to 
her hand in the sleek person of Na T'ung, who, after being 
a prominent leader of the Boxers, became the head of the 
Foreign Office in Peking. 


There can be no doubt that the Reform movement of 
1898, led by K'ang Yu-wei and supported against the 
reactionary clansmen by the Emperor Kuang Hsii, repre- 
sented a definite and perfectly justifiable intention on the 
part of the intellectual caste of Young China to put an 
end, by constitutional means, to the vicious and humiliating 
regime of the Manchu administration, with its eunuchs and 
corrupt practices, its tribute and pension lists, and its 
arrogant assumption of an authority which could no longer 
be enforced. Men like K'ang Yu-wei, Liang Ch'i-ch'ao 
and Tan Tsz-tong, Confucian scholars and sincere patriots 
all, according to their lights, were anti-dynastic in so far 
that they desired to put an end, by force if necessary, to 
the Manchus' privileges and to purge the Augean stables of 
the Forbidden City ; but they had no quarrel with the 
monarchical principle or any other tenet of the Confucian 
philosophy. Tzu Hsi, deeply wounded in her pride and 
lust of power, suppressed the movement, and executed 
several of its leaders : but she lived to realise her error and 



eventually to adopt most of their programme of constitu- 
tional reform. It would have been well, indeed, for China, 
if the principles and process of reform advocated then, and 
at the present day, by Liang Ch'i-ch'ao and men of his type, 
could have served as the inspiration of the final upheaval, 
instead of the Republican chaos which has resulted from 
the accidental ascendancy of a handful of American-taught 
Cantonese : many lives would have been saved and many 
years of unrest. 

In the end these principles must assuredly prevail, for 
they represent the unchanging instincts and traditions of 
the Chinese masses ; but the eventual restoration of the 
Dragon Throne and the finding of a Son of Heaven to fill 
it, must inflict more suffering upon the masses, for it means 
serious possibilities of secession by the South-Eastern 
provinces and civil war. 

When Sun Yat-sen and Wu Ting-fang attribute to the 
Manchus a policy of unequivocal seclusion and unyielding 
tyranny," they are addressing themselves, quite consciously 
and for their own political purposes, to the European and 
American gallery. Wu Ting-fang, in particular, who 
amassed a respectable fortune under the Manchu regime, 
and learned something of political finance as Chinese 
Minister in Washington, is perfectly well aware that this 
policy of seclusion did not originate with the JManchus, any 
more than the creation of privileges and monopolies." 
He knows that, from the first establishment of their 
dynasty, the JManchus adapted themselves to the institu- 
tions which they found in China, and that their greatest 
Emperors were sincere and worthy exponents of the Con- 
fucian philosophy and art of government. He knows, as 
every Chinese scholar knows, that if they had not adopted 
and vigorously enforced the normal Chinese principles and 
methods of administration, their Imperial authority would 
speedily have been challenged and overthrown — for they 
established their dynasty as the result of a Chinese rebellion. 



Similarly, when the present chiefs of the Republican 
Government pay homage to the memory of the Ming 
dynasty, they stand convicted of palpable inconsistency and 
insincerity. The watchword of the Triad Society at the 
time of the Taiping rebellion was " Destroy the Manchus, 
restore the JNIings " ; oblivious of the fact that it was a 
Chinese rebel who put an end to the Ming dynasty. 
Therefore when Young China prostrates itself before the 
tablet of Hung Wu and invokes the protection of his 
august shade in the name of a Republic, it displays either 
lamentable ignorance or complete disregard of the funda- 
mental traditions and sentiments of the Chinese race. The 
expulsion of the Manchus, aliens, who had clearly "exhausted 
the mandate of Heaven," coincides with the general wish 
of the people ; but upon what ground, other than self- 
seeking ambition, can the leaders of the Republic justify 
themselves and their newly-made state, whilst making 
obeisance at the Tombs of the Mings ? That dynasty 
stands not without heirs, for a direct descendant of its 
founder, a man of good intelligence and repute, is ready 
and willing to ascend the Dragon Throne. 

In one of the earlier Republican manifestoes issued from 
Shanghai over the signatures of Wu Ting-fang and Wen 
Tsung-yao (grateful recipients both of the Imperial favour 
in bygone days), the Manchu dynasty is accused of having, 
" by its benighted conceptions and barbaric leanings, 
brought China to a position of degradation." Both these 
officials are well aware, from personal knowledge and 
experience, that whereas it was the unfortunate Manchu 
Emperor Kuang Hsu who led the way towards adminis- 
trative reform and Constitutional Government, the chief 
obstacles on that hard road have been created by the 
unpatriotic individualism and corruption of high Chinese 
officials. They know full well that mandarins of the stamp 
of Li Hung-chang and Sheng Hsuan-huai (not to come 
nearer home) are as much responsible for China's humiliations 


Prince Tsai-T'ao 
(Brother of the late Emperor Kuang Hsu.) 


as any consensus of Manchu opinion or exercise of Manchu 


Dispassionately considered, the ignominious and spiritless 
collapse of the Manchu dynasty must be attributed, in the 
first instance, to its failure to produce, after the death of 
Tzii Hsi, a ruler fitted, by temperament and training, to 
grasp the rapidly changing political situation and to face 
it with the unhesitating firmness which alone appeals to 
Oriental minds. The lack of loyal and influential Chinese 
Viceroys, most conspicuous since the death of Liu K'un-Yi 
and Chang Chih-tung, was undoubtedly a contributive 
cause of unrest and disaffection in the central provinces. 
Other factors in the situation which eventually brought 
about the last humiliating debacle, lay in the vacillating 
weakness of the Regent and in his misguided persistence 
in appointing Manchus to lucrative posts — notably his own 
brothers. By this short-sighted policy he incurred the 
hostility of many powerful Chinese who might otherwise 
have been loyal to the Throne. The continuance of Tartar 
garrisons in the provinces and of tribute levies on behalf 
of the Peking Bannermen was, under the circumstances, 
another error of policy — a blunder which Tzii Hsi, after her 
experiences of 1900, would not have perpetrated. Moreover, 
the sale of ranks and titles, frequently abolished by Imperial 
edicts and as frequently re-instituted, led to increased official 
exactions by those who had bought their posts, and to 
widespread disloyalty amongst the Utei^ati who failed there- 
fore to attain them by force of merit. Finally, the steady 
loss of prestige incurred by the Manchus through their 
failure to prevent, and even to resist, the aggressions of 
foreign Powers, probably contributed, more than any other 
factor, to the audacity of the revolutionaries and the moral 
collapse of the dynastic clan. In former days, before the 



telegi-aph and the Press had rendered possible a certain 
comniiinity of knowledge and aims between the widely 
separated political and intellectual centres, loss of Imperial 
''face" or territory had no immediate effect upon the 
provinces. Even in 1900, during the sack of Peking and 
tlie flight of the Court, the word of two Viceroys kept the 
lid on the " seething cauldron " of the Yangtsze. Since 
then, by the circulation of newspapers, the building of 
railways, and the far-reaching development of the postal 
service, all that Peking does is soon known and criticised in 
the provincial capitals ; and the prestige of the Manchus 
steadily declined in the eyes of Young China, as the 
certainty established itself in the minds of that politically 
conscious class, that the Government had no longer the 
physical or moral energies sufficient to check the encroach- 
ment of the foreigner. 

Meadows,^ in an unusually lucid analysis of the causes 
of China's political longevity, declared that it was due to 
the steady observance, by successive dynasties, of three 
fundamental doctrines and to the maintenance of one 
immutable institution. These doctrines he defined as 
follows : — 

I. That the nation must be governed by moral agency in 
preference to physical force. 

II. That the services of the wisest and ablest men in the 
nation are indispensable to its good government. 

III. That the people have the right to depose a sovereign, 
w^ho, either from active wickedness or vicious indolence, 
gives cause to oppressive and tyrannical rule. 

The permanent institution, by means of which a living 
practical belief in these doctrines is maintained in the mind 
of the nation, is tlie system of competitive examination for 
the public service. 

'lite Chinese and their Rebellions, p. 401. 




There is undoubtedly much truth in this explanation of 
the permanent stability of the Chinese civilisation and system 
of government, although it is evident that, during the long 
centuries in which the masses of the people had no means 
of intercommunication and little knowledge of events 
beyond their own districts, a national consensus of opinion 
on the subject of tyranny could never be a plant of easy and 
rapid growth. The economic factor, as a chronic cause of 
violent upheavals independent of the virtue of the ruler, is 
also overlooked in this analysis. But the value of the 
competitive examination system as an enduring source of 
national cohesion and stability can scarcely be exaggerated. 
Bearing this fact in mind, the suddenness with which the 
ancient classical examinations were abolished in 1904, and 
the failure to replace them by something equally satisfying 
to the soul of the people, must be a cause productive of 
disquiet in the present and widespreading unrest for some 
years to come, a cause which, in the turmoil of Treaty-port 
politics, has not received the attention it deserves. As 
Meadows rightly observes : 

" In every case the institution of Public Service Examina- 
tions (which have long been strictly competiti^'e) is the cause 
of the continued duration of the Chinese nation : it is that 
which preserves the other causes and gives efficacy to their 
operation. By it, all parents throughout the country, who 
can compass the means, are induced to impart to their sons 
an intimate knowledge of the literature which contains the 
three doctrines above cited, together with many others 
conducive to a high mental cultivation. By it, all the ability 
of the country is enlisted on the side of that Government 
which takes care to preserve it in purity. By it, with its 
impartiality, the poorest man in the country is constrained to 
say that if his lot in life is a low^ one, it is so in virtue of the 
' will of Heaven,' and that no unjust barriers created by his 



fellow men prevent him from elevating himself. In conse- 
quence of its neglect or corruption, if prolonged, the able 
men of the country are spurred by their natural and 
honourable ambition to the overthrow of the, in their eyes 
and in the eyes of the nation, guilty rulers ; a new dynasty 
is then established, which consolidates its powers by restoring 
the institution in integrity and purity. . . . Then follows 
one of those periods, which are marked in Chinese history by 
the reign of justice, peace, content, cheerful industry, and 
general prosperity ; and a glorious succession of which has 
made the Chinese people not only the oldest but so vastly 
the largest of all the nations." 

Judged by the test of this analysis, and bearing in mind 
the concurrent importance of the economic factor, the 
Taipnig rebellion, directed against a dynasty which, in three 
successive emperors, had proved itself degenerate and 
** viciously indolent," was justified by all the traditions of 
Chinese history, and by the pitiable condition of large 
portions of the Empire. Looking back on the history of 
the dynasty since 1860, it may safely be said that it would 
have been better for China had that revolution been allowed 
to run its successful course without interference by foreigners 
on behalf of the Manchu dynasty; for the result of that 
interference, as events have proved, was to prolong the 
existence of an administration inherently decadent and at 
the same time to sow seeds of perennial discord between the 
North and South. The prestige and authority of the 
dynasty had been shaken beyond all power of permanent 
recovery. The statecraft of the Empress Dowager merely 
held the tottering fabric together for a while, but the writing 
was plain upon the wall, which predicted the Manchus' early 
disappearance from the scene. Sooner or later, a storm 
had to relieve the atmospheric pressure, and incidentally 
diminish the congestion of the population. 

The Manchus have joined the great company of kings in 
exile, and the Chinese people are left once again to work 
out tlieir political salvation. The difficulties which confront 



them are intensified by the fact that no longer, as in the 
periodical anti-dynastic rebellions of the past, can they hope 
to re-establish the normal order by the light of their own 
devices and instinctive traditions. The world is too much 
with them : for good or evil, China can no longer be a law 
unto herself. She has given hostages to fortune, in the 
shape of European loans ; now and henceforth her crises and 
her civil wars are become matters of concern to the world- 
family of nations, her disorganisation and unrest a source of 
danger beyond her borders. 

The INIanchu has passed from the scene, admitting his own 
futility, asking valedictory alms on his pitiful departure from 
the Forbidden City. In demanding the abdication of the 
dynasty, Young China has rightly conformed to the traditions 
of Chinese history and fulfilled a purpose, clearly confirmed 
by the rudimentary political instincts of the masses as 
inevitable and just. So far, therefore, the Revolution is 
justified, and the sympathy extended to its leaders by the 
great majority of foreigners in China is legitimate. But 
here justification stops : for judging by their actions and 
utterances, the Cantonese Party, which at present controls 
the situation, has expelled the Manchu, not to restore that 
immemorial order which has preserved the race through 
countless generations, but to set up a new House Celestial, 
in which the masses of the people must find themselves utter 
strangers. Herein lies a natural danger greater even than 
the decadence of the INIanchus, the peril of abrupt and 
cataclysmal change. 





Le Roi est mort — vive le Roi ! The Manchii passes 
from the scene, surrendering his place to Young China. 
The grave and reverend signiors of the classical 
JNlandarinate, almost venerable, in spite of their ignorance 
and corruption, because of the traditions they represent, 
have disappeared, and their places are filled by the frock- 
coated students and journalists of the new dispensation. 
The oft-threatened equilibrium ,of Confucian state-craft, 
repeatedly shaken by the assaults and crafts of the outer 
barbarian's vigorous materialism, has apparently collapsed. 
The Sages' ancient framework of political philosophy, by 
corrupt usage sunk to the level of a word-spinning and 
money-grubbing machine, needs to be passed once more 
through fires of purification. The system of the " Superior 
Man," fallen upon evil days, goes down, for the time being, 
before an alien civilisation, whose apostles are Young 

Young China, as we know it to-day, may be said to have 
been born in 1895, after the complete defeat of the Celestial 
Empire by the " pigmy warriors " of Japan. Its first 
appearance on the scene, as a force to be seriously reckoned 
with, dates from the conclusion of the Shimonoseki Treaty, 
which ended the war under conditions deeply humiliating to 
every sensitive and patriotic Chinese subject. As an 
immediate result of this fresh proof of the Manchus' military 



and administrative inefficiency, certain semi-Europeanised 
progressives of Canton, led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, showed 
unmistakable signs of unrest. The first result was an 
attempt to raise the standard of rebellion by capturing the 
city and declaring the independence of Kuangtung ; but the 
coup was badly planned and clumsily executed, and upon its 
failure Sun Yat-sen was compelled to flee the country. 
His fellow provincial, K'ang Yu-wei, a classical scholar and 
constitutional reformer, pursued the same ends, but by other 
means. He hated the Manchu dynasty, and particularly 
the Empress Dowager, as cordially as he despised the 
foreigner, but he saw in the liberal tendencies of the 
Emperor Kuang Hsli a hope of achieving his purposes by 
constitutionally progressive measures. The unfortunate 
Emperor's reform movement and the Empress Dowager's 
coup d'etat of September, 1898, are matters of recorded 
history,^ but it is well to emphasise the fact that " Young 
China " took its first inspiration and its first clear hope from 
the head of the Manchu dynasty, which Sun Yat-sen and 
his friends now so fiercely proclaim to have been utterly 
detestable and vile. There is no doubt that the Emperor 
Kuang Hsii felt, as keenly as any of his Cantonese subjects, 
the humiliation of China's defeats, and that, in adopting the 
programme of the Southern Progressives, he sincerely hoped 
to be able to imitate Japan's successful reforms. Upon the 
advice of the Imperial tutor, Weng T'ung-ho, he first 
received K'ang Yu-wei in audience, in June, 1898. Carried 
away by the headlong fervour of this patriotic reformer, he 
attempted many things from which an older and wiser head 
would doubtless have refrained. He has been blamed by 
European diplomacy (after the event) and by the Chinese 
themselves, for lack of worldly wisdom in his words and 
deeds of those Hundred Days. Doubtless the Son of 
Heaven was neither very wise nor very prudent — they 

1 Vide China under the Empress Dowager, Chapters XII. to XIV. 



taught him no wisdom in that gilded prison — but at least it 
must now be confessed by his critics that the wildest of his 
dreams, the least deliberate of his reforms, was a monument 
of careful state-craft as compared with the declaration and 
constitution of the present Chinese Republic. 


It was this melancholy puppet-Emperor who first saw 
and decreed the necessity for investigating every branch 
of Western learning appropriate to existing needs " (Edict 
of the 9tli of June, 1898) ; it was he who directed members 
of his Imperial clan to seek education abroad ; who de- 
nounced sinecures and squeezes, and endeavoured to cleanse 
the Augean stables of his Empire, not only of Manchu 
lethargy but of Chinese corruption. The impetus given to 
" Western learning " by the Edicts of September, 1898, 
was temporarily checked by the Empress Dowager's reac- 
tionary policy of the following year ; but a first detachment 
of students had been sent to Japan by the Chinese Govern- 
ment in 1895, and throughout the country it was felt that 
the ancient classical system of examination for the public 
service could not last much longer. That system was finally 
abolished by an Edict of the chastened Empress Dowager, 
acting upon the advice of Yuan Shih-k'ai and Chang 
Chih-tung, in 1904 ; but in the meanwhile Yuan had 
demonstrated, more forcibly than any Imperial Edict could 
do, the new and practical value of Western learning as 
a road to high office. This he did by appointing several 
American-educated Cantonese to influential and lucrative 
posts in his V^iceroyalty of Chihli. Some of these men had 
been selected as students by Yung Wing's educational 
mission to the United States in 1875, men who had returned 
to China with high hopes of winning distinction in the 
service of the country, and who had been promptly relegated 
to impecunious obscurity by the classical mandarins, jealous 



for their craft. But after the Japanese war, even the most 
hide-bound officials of the old regime began to realise that 
some knowledge of Western methods, if not of Western 
ideals, was rapidly becoming indispensable in the public 
service. Bureaus of Foreign Affairs sprang up on all sides 
as offshoots to Viceregal Yamens, and every foreign- 
educated Chinese, even the " house-boy " who had studied 
the first primer in a mission school, suddenly found his 
services in request. And here again we may see, in the 
position of affairs to-day, how the whirligig of Time brings 
in his revenges ; for Yuan Shih-k'ai, who first fluttered 
the official Tientsin dovecotes with his American-educated 
Cantonese, has lived to see his nominations to a Republican 
Cabinet vetoed by a handful of student-politicians. How 
greatly Yuan Shih-k'ai stimulated the Western -learning 
movement by virtue of his influence with the Old Buddha 
after the coup d'etat, and by his protection of his Cantonese 
lieutenants, may be inferred from the positions to which 
have risen some of the ex-students of Yung AVing's much- 
ridiculed mission. Amongst them (Cantonese all) are 
T'ang Shao-yi, lately Premier of the Republic ; Liang 
T'un-yen, ex-President of the Wai-wu-pu ; Sir Ch'en- 
tung Liang, K.C.M.G., Minister in Berlin ; Liu Yuk-lin, 
Minister in London ; Jeme Tien-yew, Director of Railways ; 
and Tong Kai-son, lately representative of China at the 
Hague Opium Conference, a body of men who, in the 
matter of administrative ability, undoubtedly justified the 
great Viceroy's progressive liberalism. 


In 1904, the old system of classical examinations was 
abolished, and in 1906 was held the first examination of 
Western-learning students by the new Board of Education 
at Peking. Of fifty-three candidates who presented them- 
selves, twenty-three had studied in Japan, sixteen in the 

81 G 


United States, two in England, and one in Germany.^ 
Eleven out of the first twelve places were won by students 
from America ; all their papers were written in English, 
and nine of the successful graduates were professed 
Christians. Contrary to the candidates' general expectations, 
however, the passing of the examination did not lead 
directly, or even necessarily, to official employment. The 
fact is important, for it has a direct bearing upon the 
subsequent political activities of Young China. The 
examination was something in the nature of a tentative 
concession to T'ang Shao-yi and his friends, and an official 
recognition of the moral effect of Japan's victory over 
Russia. Although conducted in a somewhat perfunctory 
manner, and productive of no immediate employment for 
most of the successful candidates, its effect was to convince 
the literati, and amongst them orthodox reformers of the 
school of K'ang Yu-wei and Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, that the 
ancient system of classical education had ceased to be the 
main road to an official career. The Emperor's intention, 
as proclaimed in 1898, had been to retain "the canons of the 
Sages" as the basis of education, but a Chinshih degree 
conferred upon a Christian candidate who wrote his essays 
in English, pointed clearly to an abrupt parting of the ways, 
and to many possibilities of future strife. 

In the preceding chapter, stress was laid upon the value of 
the competitive examination system as an enduring source 
of national cohesion and stability. The sudden abolition of 
the ancient and orthodox system was bound, under any 
circumstances, to create widespread distress and unrest, but 
the failure of the Chinese Government to replace it by some- 
thing definite and practical, on the lines originally proposed 
by H. M. Kuang Hsi'i, resulted in creating two distinct 

^ In July, 1910, there were fifty foreign-educated Chinese in official posts 
at Peking, not counting ex-students from Japan ; of these twenty-seven had 
been educated in America, fourteen in England, four in France, three in 
Germany and two in Belgium. 



classes of malcontents, and a general disorganisation of the 
public service. After 1906, a few of the successful candi- 
dates at the annual examinations were retained at Peking 
for employment in the Government JVIinistries, whilst 
others were appointed as teachers in the provincial Govern- 
ment Colleges or as technical advisers in official enterprises ; 
but for the majority no posts were available, and no 
machinery was evolved for creating them. Here we have 
clearly a root-cause of Young China's discontent, and an 
explanation of last summer's carpet-bag invasion of Peking 
by swarms of office-seekers in frock-coats and top hats. 

When Tzu Hsi, converted to the country's need of new 
methods of education, decreed in 1904 that graduation at 
one of the modern Colleges should be the only recognised 
path to official employment, she looked forward to long 
years of power, and saw no reason to anticipate any serious 
difficulty in maintaining the old regime, side by side with the 
new, on the time-honoured foundations of nepotism and 
promotion douceurs. At the same time, she had already 
had cause to perceive results dangerous to the State in the 
education of large batches of students in Japan, the first 
consignment to that country having returned with unmistak- 
ably revolutionary tendencies. She therefore gave orders 
that, in future, arrangements should be made for sending 
more scholars to Europe and America. 


As Young China invariably bases its claims to ascendancy, 
and its demand for the root-and-branch abolition of the 
manners and methods of the old regime, on the superiority 
of its education, it follows that the quality of the mental and 
moral pabulum which it assimilates, either under Govern- 
ment direction or of its own initiative, must be a matter of 
vital importance to the future peace and good order of the 
Chinese people, and deserving of the closest attention. As 

83 G 2 


regards the education hitherto provided in Japan, all 
observers have agreed in the conclusion that its general 
results have been from every point of view unsatisfactory. 
AVriting on this subject in the World's Chinese Students' 
Journal, Mr. Ling Chi Hong, a Chinese resident in Tokyo, 
observes : — 

*' The ease with which a few of the Japanese-returned 
students obtained their literary degrees and high Govern- 
ment appointments caused a great increase of Chinese 
students pursuing their studies in Japan, so that within a 
few years the number reached as high as thirteen thousand. 
Though few were bent on real education, the majority 
went to the country merely for the name of being a 
returned-student, and for the prospect that was held out 
to them of becoming officials. Consequently there was 
a mad ' speculative ' rush for Japanese education, but few 
stayed longer than from three to six months. 

" There were not a few covetous Japanese who took 
advantage of this educational speculation, and schools of all 
sorts and descriptions, from the so-called normal to the 
collegiate institutions, were started by hundreds of these 
enterprising people to cater to the wants of our Chinese 
youths. The prices of food and other commodities, which 
have been low for centuries, suddenly rose to high figures in 
Tokyo, in consequence of the lavish and extravagant habits 
of our Chinese students, many of whom were connected 
v/ith rich and influential families. Tuitions and diplomas 
also had their premiums and exorbitant prices were de- 
manded from the Chinese students both as matriculation 
and graduation fees. 

" The value or worthlessness of such an education is 
apparent to right-minded men. In order to get a real 
education in Japan two years must at least be devoted to 
the study of the language and five years would be the 
minimum time before one can get a fair education. 

" The farce of Japanese education soon came to the 
knowledge of the Imperial Government, and in 1906 the 
Board of Education of Tokyo was instructed by our 
(Tovernment to enforce strict regulations for the control of 



Chinese students. As soon as the above-mentioned order 
was reported in the newspapers, the Chinese students lield a 
meeting at the hall of the Chinese Students' Alliance of 
Tokyo. The members held di\ ided opinions, some proposing 
to return and others to remain. As a result, more than one 
half left Japan." 

Professor Reinsch, always an optimistic and sympathetic 
observer of Chuiese Republicanism, says : — 

" Much criticism has been aroused by the behaviour of 
the Japanese students after their return to China. Many of 
these young men have attempted to cast off all restraint, 
moral, social and political. The sudden transference of a 
young Chinaman, brought up in a life of strict regularity, 
to an atmosphere of entire freedom, is accompanied with 
danger to his character. To judge from all the accounts of 
student life in Tokyo, the freedom enjoyed by the Japanese 
students was turned into license and licentiousness by many 
of the young men from China. So, instead of becoming a 
source of strength, of character building, instead of im- 
parting to the students the 'moral needed by men starting 
upon careers of constructive work and struggle, Tokyo 
proved an enervating Capua to many of them, stealing away 
their spirit and leaving them uncertain of purpose and 
helmless. . . . 

" Moreover, while the regularly established Japanese 
institutions of learning performed a great service to Chinese 
students, many of the latter unfortunately fell into the 
hands of educational adventurers, who made a business of 
rapidly furnishing a makeshift education (the soku sei 
method) and sent their victims back to China with gradua- 
tion certificates and with a feeling of great personal con- 
sequence, but without any vestige of serious training." ^ 

The stampede for education in Japan, which began on a 
large scale in 1895, did not necessarily imply any definite 
recognition of superiority in'Western learning by the parents 
and guardians concerned, or even by the scholars themselves. 

1 Intellectual and Political Currents in the Far Ead, p. 217. 



Its cause lay in economic pressure, in the struggle for office, 
the same cause which for centuries has produced ten students 
to compete for one post through the provincial and metro- 
politan examinations. 

The new schools and colleges required many teachers, and 
a man might learn enough to teach, by the Japanese method, 
in six months. Any youth possessing the barest rudiments 
of English or arithmetic could command in many provinces 
a salary higher than that of a venerable Confucian scholar. 
Moreover, there was money to be made by school teachers 
in requisitions for all the new-fangled apparatus indispens- 
able to the new learning, requisitions from which the local 
officials of the Education Board derived their share of 
" squeeze." But while acquiring a smattering of the things 
required to earn a livelihood under the new dispensation, 
the average student, particularly in Japan, retained his 
traditional belief in the superiority of Chinese culture and 
Chinese intelligence, in his heart despising the barbarian 
whose mechanical arts he was driven to acquire. By the 
aid of a phenomenally retentive memory, transmitted 
through centuries of training in the Confucian classics, he 
was able to learn by rote text-books of which he understood 
little or nothing, and in his turn to impart their formula? 
to the rising generation. When politically inclined, his 
studies frequently took the form of a course in elemental 
explosives and in the art of revolutionary pamphleteering. 
Small wonder that, as the first batches of students from 
Tokyo returned to claim the reward of their labours, the 
enthusiasm of parents and provincial authorities for the 
new education visibly waned. The get-wise-quick boom 
speedily burst, but not before some fifteen thousand 
" expectants " had returned, to assert their noisy claims 
and to sow new seeds of unrest in every province. And 
the earnest, patriotic, well-educated student suffered by 
implication in the eyes of the conservative literati and 


A Form of Execution. Rebel Head-Knifeman. 


At the beginning of 1909, when the Manchus' prestige 
began its last swift decUne after the death of the Empress 
Dowager, and when the turbulent south took umbrage at 
the fall of Yuan Shih-k'ai and the scattering of his Cantonese 
lieutenants in Chihli, the returned-student problem assumed 
serious dimensions. In July of that year, the editor of the 
World's Chinese Students' Journal, evidently qualified to 
speak with authority on this subject, observed that 

" the root of the trouble lay in the unreasonable attitude of 
the official classes, who, though they are obliged to employ a 
certain number of men with foreign training, still keep them 
at arm's length whenever any important matter requiring 
special diplomatic or technical skill is to be settled. The 
result of this continual want of confidence on the part of the 
higher authorities has driven away the keenest men, while 
the lukewarm ones hang on and hope for better times, 
meanwhile forgetting the work for which they have trained 
themselves, and the light-hearted ones adopt the methods of 
the conservative classes by running for one post after another, 
so as to enrich themselves at the expense of the country." 

Four months earlier, the same writer had declared that the 
excessive supply of foreign-educated men, out of all propor- 
tion to the demand, and the gradual raising of the standard 
of living, consequent upon the spread of higher education, 
could only be regarded as an economic menace. He pointed 
out that, although many self-supporting students went abroad 
of their own initiative, and from disinterested motives of 
self-improvement, the majority of those who went at the 
Government's expense naturally expected that some kind of 
official position would be provided for them, an expectation 
which the Government had failed to satisfy. To remedy 
this steadily-increasing grievance, it was suggested that the 
Government should reorganise all the provincial institutions 
with a view to providing suitable employment for returned 
students, such employment to begin in the larger cities and 
to be gradually extended to district towns and villages. In 



March, 1912, it was estimated that 66 out of the 207 Chinese 
students in America were Gov ernment students ; at the same 
date there were 120 officially-supported scholars in England, 
and others in Germany, France and Belgium. Of the 
American total, 116 students were men selected by com- 
petitive examinations, whose expenses are defrayed out of 
the " refunded " Boxer indemnity moneys. The Govern- 
ment-student problem was evidently becoming acute. 


I dwell upon the various aspects of this phase of the educa- 
tional question because it not only affords a most significant 
manifestation of economic pressure working along new lines, 
but because Young China's prospects of continued prestige 
and authority depend absolutely upon the quality of the 
students themselves, and of the education supplied to them. 
The whole problem of education in China, as in India, is 
fraught with difficulties and dangers that can hardly be 
exaggerated. In India, as Sir Valentine Chirol's convincing 
work ^ has shown, the fundamental weakness of our Indian 
educational system is that the average Indian student cannot 
bring his education into any direct relation with the world 
in which, outside the class or lecture room, he continues to 
live." It is clear that if in India, with organised tuition 
encouraged by a paternal and permanent Government, the 
average student is " unable to form even a remote conception 
of the customs and traditions, let alone the ideals, embodied 
in AVestern knowledge," the attempt in China, under existing 
conditions, must lead to a parlous state of social and mental 

But it is in the tendency to political demoralisation and 
unrest tliat are revealed the most ominous results of this 
pouring of new wine into old vessels. What Sir Valentine 

1 Indian Unrest. Macmillan, 1011. Chapters XVII. and XVIII. 



Chirol says of the moral disease resulting from higher 
education in India, applies to China with a force greatly 
increased by the lack of centralised and effective authority. 

" There has been," he says, " no more deplorable feature 
in the present political agitation than the active part taken 
in it by Indian schoolboys and students." Dr. Ashutosh 
Moukerjee, Vice-Chancellor of the Calcutta University, 
publicly declared his conviction three years ago, that 
strenuous efforts must be made " to protect our youths 
from the hands of irresponsible people, who recklessly seek 
to seduce our students from the path of academic life, and 
to plant in their immature minds the poisonous seeds of 
hatred against constituted Government." The fact that all 
the political murders of recent years in India have been 
committed by youths of the student class, is significant of 
dangers, actual and potential, which exist in a greatly 
aggravated form in China. For the growth of unrest of this 
kind, and the hold which political agitation obtains upon the 
raw material of the schools and universities, depends largely 
upon the extent to which economic distress breeds dis- 
content in the classes from which the students are drawn. 
The authority of the Government in India, the loyal co- 
operation for good of many influential and highly cultured 
Indians, and the disciplinary measures adopted since 1906, 
have served in some measure to stem the tide of disaffection 
and indiscipline ; and when it is borne in mind that over three- 
quarters of a million Indian students are receiving higher 
education, that the cost of living has rapidly risen, while the 
population, protected by scientific sanitation and humanitarian 
foresight, has steadily increased to the level of that of China, 
the wonder is that the political results of such economic 
conditions have not been infinitely worse. The manifesta- 
tions of Indian students' unrest compared with that of China, 
is as the murmur of a closed hive of bees compared with a 
wasps' nest in the open. In both countries each year's 
educational work is turning out swarms of needy clerks, for 



whom no employment can possibly be found and who, in 
many cases are completely unfitted by that very education 
for any useful occupation. It may be said that, under the 
ancient Chinese system of classical essay examinations, 
similar results were attained, and a supply of literati 
produced greatly in excess of the country's needs. This is 
true ; but the radical difference between that system and 
" Western learning " is visible in their respective products ; 
in the fact that, whereas patience and perseverance were 
essential virtues of the Confucian tradition for scholars, who 
studied and struggled, if necessary into old age, the new 
dispensation claims immediate preferment. The old, when 
unsuccessful, suffered in silence, eking out a penurious 
livelihood by teaching the classics or writing Yamen records ; 
the new has brought with it the platform and the Press, and 
proclaims its knowledge and its needs in every market place. 


More important still is the fact that many of the Chinese 
students who have acquired their education and political 
ideas in Tokyo have adopted the military profession, and 
that since the revolution, a number of half-educated youths 
hold army rank, to which neither their age nor their 
achievements entitle them. The close relations existing 
between the undisciplined boy-politicians and adventurers 
of young China's civil element, and the semi-independent 
commanders of several provincial forces, constitute one of the 
most ominous factors of the existing situation. 

The serious dangers to which China stands exposed by 
the ascendancy of the student class are undeniable ; but 
bearing in mind the deep-rooted economic causes of the 
nation's present unrest, remembering the inherent vitality 
and recuperative strength of its Confucian philosophy and 
social organisation, I cannot bring myself to share the belief 



very generally held by missionaries and other observers, that 
Western science and Western ideals are destined irretriev- 
ably to undermine the foundations of this ancient edifice 
Celestial, and to change the immemorial instincts and im- 
pulses of the people. I believe that, as it has been with 
Japan, so it will be, after many days, with China. The 
impact of the West will leave its mark, no doubt, upon 
the surface of Chinese life, but the silent depths, where 
broods the soul of this people, will remain untouched by all 
our material triumphs, by our missionary activities, ay, even 
if needs be by the domination of alien rulers. It is pro- 
foundly true, and has been well said, of the Chinese people, 
that they require to be governed by moral, and not by 
physical, suasion. Against all forms of tyranny they oppose 
a force of passive resistance, which, in the end, conquers the 
oppressor. " When the fierce wind blows," says one of their 
proverbs, " the tree breaks, but the grass bends." 

But, for the present, Young China's rule is likely to prove 
more tyrannous, and more distasteful to the masses, than the 
rule of the despised Manchus, for the reason that, while it 
cannot confer the blessings of law and order, it professes no 
respect for the fundamental truths and beliefs that constitute 
the inner life, the very soul of the people ; for ancestor worship, * 
for the " Three Relations," and for the basic philosophy of 
the " Book of Changes." Young China has no new moral ideas, 
no better way, to offer in substitution for the canons of the 
Sages. Christianity, as presented by our " two and seventy 
jarring sects," has hitherto failed, and shows no sign of 
succeeding, in satisfying the ethical ideals and traditional 
culture of a race in whom respect for the past and reverence 
for the patriarchal philosophy of its ancestors have attained 
the force of instinct.^ Young China, therefore, in its present 
form will pass, leaving its flotsam of wreckage on the foam- 

1 Vide Lin Shao-yang (C. F. Johnston's) A Chinese Appeal to Christendom 
concerning Christian Missions. (Watts, London, 191L) 



flecked sea of Chinese life. It will pass — one more in the 
series of paroxysms which periodically mark an organic 
unrest due to economic pressure. Its action, the result of 
new forces brought to bear upon the weather-beaten but 
enduring structure of China's racial civilisation, will be 
followed in due course by reaction, direct or indirect. But, 
as Spencer observes, it is impossible that the effect 
wrought on any general direction by some additional force 
can be truly computed from observations extending over 
but a few years, or but a few generations." The factors 
that count, in determining the sociological future of a race, 
are hot the transient phenomena of a sudden revolution, but 
the permanent characteristics which, extending over long 
periods, constitute the fundamental spirit of its civilisation. 



Studying the history of China at the time of the Taiping 
Rebellion, we perceive that several proximate causes and 
surface features of that great upheaval are identical with 
those which have been manifested in the recent revolu- 
tion and the expulsion of the Manchus. The Taiping 
Rebellion was essentially due, as we have seen, to an 
aggravated pressure of population ; and its net result was to 
reduce that pressure by immense slaughter. Its political, 
anti-dynastic character originated, as usual, with the 
politically-conscious and ever-restless inhabitants of the 
Kuang provinces. The effects of the first impact of the 
West, in trade and missionary effort, were clearly reflected 
in the professed Christianity of the rebel leaders and in their 
successful appeals to the sympathy of the Anglo-Saxon 
communities of the Treaty Ports. Had it not been for the 
assistance rendered to the Imperial cause by the British 
Government, in the loan of General Gordon's services, the 
Manchu rule would assuredly have come to its end with the 



death of Hsien Feng, and a new dynasty would probably 
have been founded by the fittest survivor of the eight rebel 
Princes. This was a consummation devoutly desired by the 
average foreigner in China in the 'fifties, just as the recent 
revolution was supported by the Press and mercantile 
community of Shanghai at its outbreak in November, 1911. 
The Taipings, from the outset, had the instinctive political 
sagacity to head off foreign intervention by the display of 
cordial feelings of friendship and respect for Europeans, a 
precedent which Young China has faithfully followed. 
JNleadows, himself a careful student of history, believed that 
the Taipings' professed Christianity, despite its elements of 
gross fanaticism, implied a radical change in the attitude of 
the Chinese people towards the outer barbarian, even as, 
to-day, Father Murphy of the Jesuit JNlission at Hankow 
believes that General Li Yuan-hung's cordial greetings to 
the Pope imply the Christian regeneration of Republican 
China. The Taipings, like Young China, appealed to the 
sympathy — not to say the cupidity — of foreigners, by 
promising " the peaceable extension of free intercourse and 
commercial privileges." Here again we have an instance 
of the delusion common to humanity which persists in 
believing that " societies arise by manufacture instead of 
arising as they do, by evolution."^ 

In the present revolution, the organisation and motive 
force originated with the Southern political malcontents and 
with the Western-learning students throughout the country, 
whose respective activities were manifested in the Cantonese 
anti-dynastic societies at home and abroad and in the work 
of the Treaty Port journalists and orators. In both classes 
there existed, and exists, a leaven of earnest, disinterested 
patriots, sincerely anxious for the political regeneration of 
the country, but generally lacking in the practical experience 
and tenacity of purpose requisite for effective leadership. 

^ Herbert Spencer^ Studi/ of Sociology/, Chapter VI. 



The objects of the revolution, as generally understood and 
expressed by Young China prior to the outbreak of rebellion 
at AVuchang, certainly did not include the establishment of 
a Republic. At that time, the complete expulsion of the 
dynasty was not so much the declared programme of the 
majority, as the curtailment of the Manchus' privileges and 
power and the introduction of constitutional government 
under a closely-limited Monarchy. To judge by the utter- 
ances of the Republic's leaders to-day, it would appear — so 
short are the memories of men — as if all the courage and 
intelligence of China had consciously and consistently striven 
for Republican ideals since the beginning. Have not many 
good Conservative mandarins proclaimed it, and has not 
Yuan Shih-k'ai himself publicly declared ^ that **the establish- 
ment of the Republic has fulfilled his long-cherished desires "? 
Nevertheless, reference to the proceedings of the National 
and Provincial Assemblies and to the utterances of the most 
outspoken of the Southern journalists during the year imme- 
diately preceding the outbreak at Wuchang in October, 1911, 
shows that the idea of a Republic did not then present itself 
as practical politics to the most advanced opinion of China's 
Intelligents. The World's Chinese Students' Journal, in 
particular, which may be presumed accurately to reflect 
the opinions of Young China, was a thoroughly loyal 
supporter of constitutional Monarchy until the position 
of the Manchus became manifestly hopeless by reason of 
^ their own lack of initiative and resource. 

The ignominious collapse of the Monarchy was directly 
due to the incompetence and cowardice of the Manchu 
Princes and to the tactlessness of the Regent, which had 
antagonised many of the ablest Chinese — men like T'ang 

^ Presidential Manifesto of the 24th of June^ 1912. 



Shao-yi — who had been faithful servants of the late Empress 
Dowager. But the success of the revolution, and even its 
outbreak, were, humanly speaking, accidental. Had Yuan 
received the financial support that he had every reason to 
expect, from the Powers which had persistently deplored his 
retirement and advised his recall, there can be but little 
doubt that the insurrection would have been suppressed as 
easily as similar outbreaks in the past. 


Equally accidental was the sudden ascendancy and dramatic 
triumph of what may be described as the ultra- Radical, 
American-educated section of Young China, the small but 
fairly organised Southern party which, at the critical moment 
of disruption, put forward its Republican programme as the 
only means of saving the country from anarchy. This 
important phase of the revolution will be dealt with in a 
later chapter ; sufficient for our present purposes to observe 
that many of the moderate reformers, men who had per- 
sistently advocated constitutional government, under a 
limited JNIonarchy, gradually dissociated themselves from 
the extreme revolutionaries as the boldness of their revolu- 
tionary programme increased with the demoralisation of the 
Manchus. Thus, the orthodox reformers of 1898 were 
supporters of the revolution up to the point at which, in 
November, Yuan Shih-k'ai's defence of the limited Monarchy 
became impossible. Many a Moderate went so far as to 
accept the proposal, agreed to by the Throne at the end of 
December, that the future form of government should be 
determined by a majority of voters at a National Convention. 
But when the Shanghai Revolutionary Committee, organised 
by hot-headed students and represented by mandarin 
opportunists, revealed its determination to insist, at all 
costs, on giving effect to their ideas of government by 
rampant democracy ; when the temper and methods of the 



Southern extremists were displayed in a cowardly attempt 
on Yuan's life (16th of January), and by other unmistak- 
able evidences of indiscipline, the moderate constitutional 
reformers parted company with the Republicans. 


It is certain that the men of the Reform movement of 
1898, K'ang Yu-wei, Liang Ch'i-ch'ao and their numerous 
followers, are infinitely more representative of the political 
needs and aspirations of the Chinese people than the leaders 
of the hotspur Republicans ; Yuan Shih-k'ai's nomina- 
tion of Liang Ch'i-ch'ao to be Minister of Justice in his 
short-lived Cabinet under the Monarchy, indicated his 
perception of this fact and of the orthodox reformers' just 
claims to recognition. Since the establishment of the 
Republic, and particularly since the T'ung Meng-hui of 
Sun Yat-sen's fantastic dreams became a power in the 
land, the Moderates' ranks have been steadily swelled by 
those who realise that, under a government of students and 
independent military commanders, life and property are far 
less safe than under the hideous ceaseless pressure of 
Manchu tyranny." The man in the street is well aware that 
Yuan Shih-k'ai, as President, and his protege. General Li 
Yuan-hung, as Vice-President, with many other dignitaries 
of the Republic, are Republicans not by conviction, but by 
prudent necessity. He knows that the opinions which 
Yuan expressed to TJie Times correspondent (hoping 
thereby to wean him from his Republican obsessions) at 
Peking, on the 20th November 1911, are already more than 
justified, and that "the internal wrangling leading to 
anarchy" must eventually endanger foreign interests, 
necessitating foreign intervention and the beginnings of 
partition. Therefore, the man in the street, with a lively 
sense of trouble to come, instinctively inclines to the Con- 



servative party, and denounces the extreme Republicans (in 
the words appHed to the Nanking delegates by Yuan's 
looting troops) as " imitation foreigners." Finally, he 
knows that, when once the tide of reaction has set strongly 
against Young China's methods of government, the spirit of 
conformity to public opinion, which is one of the most 
marked characteristics of the Chinese, will cause the ranks 
of the Republicans to dwindle and disappear at the first 
serious crisis. The Chinese student, like the soldier, is only 
collectively aggressive ; he needs the inspiration of popularity, 
a sense of movement en masse, with clamour and beating of 
drums. For these things, and for the applause of comrades, 
he will face martyrdom, leading forlorn hopes ; but his 
elan of enthusiasm is brief, and it dies at the first chill 
breath of popular dissatisfaction. Individually, Young 
China is of a docile, almost a timid, type ; collectively, it is 
a violent explosive. Therefore, as the average moderate 
man sees the first leaders of the Republican movement 
retiring discreetly to the safety of their homes in the 
Foreign Settlement at Shanghai ; when the Premiership 
proves too heavy a burden for the ablest and bravest of the 
T'ung Meng-hui vanguard ; there is every reason to expect 
that Young China will soon have a revolution of its own 
and that K'ang Yu-wei's Pao Huang Hui, or League for the 
defence of the Monarchy, will recruit many new adherents. 
The orthodox Young China of Western learning and con- 
stitutional reform, which supported the Emperor Kuang 
Hsii in 1898, still stoutly maintains that Republicanism is 
entirely opposed to the commonsense and needs of the 
Chinese people. That this is the real opinion of Yuan 
Shih-k'ai we know ; scholars like Ku Hung-ming and Yen 
Fu express it in arguments which undoubtedly represent 
the instinctive feelings of the vast majority of the inarticulate 

No doubt but that, when the new flags flew and the guns 
were fired to celebrate the passing of the Manchu and the 

97 H 


dawn of a new era, there were many, even amongst the 
level-headed merchant class, and certainly amongst the 
peasantry, who expected great and good things from 
the proclaiming of the Republic. Was not America a 
Republic and therefore prosperous ? Therefore, in Shanghai, 
Canton, Changsha, and many another city, where the word 
" Republic " meant no more to the people at large than the 
blessed word " Mesopotamia," men embraced each other 
publicly and wept for joy at the coming of Liberty, 
Equality and Fraternity. As it was in Turkey in July, 
1908, so it was in Chhia in February, 1912 — men, weary of 
bad government, were fain to believe in this miracle, which 
was to abolish tyranny and corruption for ever ; and so it 
came to pass that the queueless, frock-coated students of 
China were regarded as heralds and harbingers of the 
millennium, and welcomed with something approaching 
their own fervent enthusiasm. And they, on their side, 
made haste to proclaim ideals of Republicanism, highly 
attractive to a people whose knowledge of political economy 
is rudimentary. The merchant was to be delivered from 
lekin and the farmer from land tax ; there would be less 
work and more pay for everyone ; equal justice would be 
administered to all ; a strong and united Republic would 
compel the respect of foreign nations, and exact reparation 
for encroachments upon Chinese territory. Small wonder 
that the terrified mandarins, gathering their impressions of 
the revolution from Young China's perfervid journalism, 
made haste to transfer their allegiance, so that city after 
city, and province after province, declared themselves 
Republican almost without knowing it. 

It was not long before the practical Chinese people began 
to perceive that the Republic was not likely to bring them 
surcease of the evils that spring from bad government. 
They learned very soon, in the looting of cities by an 
undisciplined army and in the devastation of the country by 
robber bands, that — in the words of a native scholar — the 



Yellow River may change its bed, but its waters are still 
muddy." The corruption displayed by the truculent youths 
in strange garments who now swaggered as civil and military 
authorities, was just as bad as that of the mandarins under 
the Empire ; no man was safe from their levies, from corvees 
exacted in the name of the Republic, from lawlessness and 
looting of predatory mobs. Young China was speedily 
weighed in the balance and found wanting, even at its own 
headquarters of the Treaty Ports. From the outset its 
political and administrative efforts were lacking in continuity 
and common purpose ; all its energies appeared to be 
concentrated upon futile academic discussions. The organi- 
sation of which Sun Yat-sen and his friends had boasted 
overseas, manifested itself in spasmodic crusades of queue- 
cutting and issues of paper money, in grandiloquent 
manifestoes proclaiming changes in the calendar and similar 
futilities ; in the solemn academic debates of the Nanking 
Assembly ending in the adoption of national conscription, 
woman suffrage and other impossibilities ; in endless 
ceremonies and pageants and processions that ministered to 
the vanity of politicians but did nothing to relieve the 
increasing burdens of the people. 

There were, it is true, bright spots in the general welter 
of incompetence — evidences, here and there, of self-sacrifice, 
of subordination of private ends to the common weal and 
occasional instances of ideals, courage and consistency ; but 
these were always local symptoms, and by no means character- 
istic of any phase of the national revolutionary movement. 
For instance, under the administration of Li Yuan-hung, an 
earnest and patriotic man according to his lights, the 
proceedings of Young China at Hankow were generally 
reasonable and restrained ; at Shanghai, the notorious 
corruption of the Military Governor, Ch'en Chi-mei, was 
reflected in the general demoralisation of his subordinates, in 
blackmail, extortion and oppression far worse than any 
abuses permitted by the Manchus. Amongst the students 

99 ii 


educated in England and America, there were many who 
cherished high ideals and an earnest desire for constructive 
reform ; but those who declined to join the noisy procession 
of tub-thumpers and office-seekers soon found themselves 
relegated to inglorious obscurity, the baser expelling the 
superior currency. Above all, the essential virtue of 
personal integrity, the capacity to handle public funds with 
common honesty, has been conspicuously lacking in Young 
China. The leopard has not changed his spots ; the sons 
and brothers of the classical mandarin remain, in spite of 
Western learning, mandarins by instinct and in practice. 
JNlore than this, the opuiion is widely held amongst European 
residents and traders that the section of Young China which 
has received its education in foreign mission schools displays 
no more honesty than the rest. 


Amidst the confusion of conflicting opinions concerning 
the revolution and the prospects of peace and prosperity for 
China, one central fact stands out in clear relief, a fact vital 
in its importance, yet scarcely ever directly referred to by 
the self-elected leaders of Young China, and never discussed, 
as a definite issue to be squarely faced, by the Advisory 
Council or the Provincial Assemblies ; namely the universal 
prevalence of " squeeze " in every department of the public 
service. In theory, it is fully recognised by the vernacular 
Press that, unless Young China sets an example of integrity 
in the administration of public affairs, it can make no valid 
claim to the confidence of the people ; in practice, nepotism, 
bribery and extortion flourish under the Republic more 
immoderately, and with less regard for appearances, than 
under the Monarchy. Yuan Shih-k'ai's pathetic mandates 
against unlawful exactions and extortion were possibly a 
concession to the feelings of the Diplomatic Body, outraged 
by the official dacoitry of the Governor of the native city at 
Shanghai, but Chinese public opinion, as a whole, seems 



incapable of realising that Young China can only justify 
itself, and the Revolution, by the display of common 
honesty in public life. Without this simple virtue, which in 
theory is always claimed by the exponents of Western 
learning, and in practice is ever lacking, it is clear that 
neither Constitution, National Conventions, Regulations, or 
Reform Bills can effect any sensible change in the rottenness 
of the State. A Young China journal, the Repiihlican 
Advocate of Shanghai, writing in May last on the burning 
topic of foreign loans, naively voices the prevalent distrust 
in the following typical effusion : — 

" For their hopeless corruption, the INIanchus have received 
their just penalty, and the wreck of their once powerful and 
glorious dynasty should be a standing object lesson to those 
whom Heaven has chosen as its successors, lest by intentional 
or unintentional commissions of such a repetition, the 
Republic would also be doomed to a miserable failure. . . . 

The popularity and success of a Government depend 
upon the confidence which it is able to enjoy from the people ; 
but public confidence is not to be secured by mere form of 
name of a Government, but by the correct and honest method 
by which it carries its function. Already the public is greatly 
concerned in the negotiations of the tremendous amount of 
foreign loan between the Peking Government and the Foreign 
Powers, and is looking upon the transactions with deep 
suspicion ; and they are justified in their fears when the fact 
is considered that the sudden possession of such a large 
amount might create a strong temptation on the part of the 
weak and unscrupulous officials to resort to former practices 
of * squeeze.' 

" Hence, the first and foremost duty of the new Govern- 
ment is to allay the fears of the public by forestalling the 
revival of the old official practices, not only in the Central 
Government but in all the provincial administrations, by the 
appointment of men well known for their integrity and 
honesty to supervise the accounts and budgets. Thus shall 
we be enabled in this new era to prevent any attempt at 
illicit but too easily resorted to methods of ' squeeze-pidghi.' " 



" Men well known for their integrity and honesty " — but 
Chinese officialdom possesses them not. Nepotism, bribery 
and squeezing remain recognised class-interests and fixed 
traditions of the mandannate. The public conscience accepts 
them as necessary and minor evils of existence, even as in 
WesLcrn countries collective indifference to public affairs or 
a low standard of public morality will tolerate and perpetuate 
a corrupt class of politicians. The conditions created, for 
instance, in New York under the Tammany regime^ reproduce 
many of the worst results of the Chinese system. Public 
life in England, two hundred and fifty years ago, tolerated 
official peculation on a large scale. This is an evil only 
curable by steady pressure of condemnation brought to bear 
by a politically-conscious majority. The apathy of the 
Chinese nation in regard thereto makes the prospect of 
financial and administrative reform seem extremely remote ; 
it is impossible to imagine, under existing conditions, an 
energetic national crusade like the anti-opium movement, 
against the all-pervading dishonesty of the official class. It 
is this feature of the Chinese problem, a direct cause of the 
nation's political inferiority, that makes Young China's lack 
of moral qualities appear the more tragically disappointing. 
For years it has proclaimed, and many friends of China have 
hoped and believed, that, given the opportunity, it would 
set an example of clean-handed devotion to duty, that its 
influence would cleanse the official purlieus. The young 
officials and literati who suffered persecution and martyrdom 
for the Emperor's reform movement in 1898, had given 
promise of higlier things. Many missionaries, judging by 
their own students, looked hopefully to the future when 
their influence should be felt for good. Some, watching the 
official careers of the picked men who served under Yuan 
Shih-k'ai in Chihli, were compelled at an early stage to doubt 
the efficacy of Western education, at least in so far as the 
eradication of venahty was concerned. Rut the experience 
of the past year has proved, with a weight of damning 



evidence that makes exceptions even more remarkable than 
an impecunious Viceroy under the old regime, that where 
Young China has cast off the ethical restraints and patriotic 
morality of Confucianism, it has failed to assimilate, or even 
to understand, the moral foundations of Europe's civilisation. 
It has exchanged its old lamp for a new, but it has not found 
the oil which the new vessel needs to lighten the darkness 

Five years ago, observing the first organised manifestations 
of the activities which have ended in the Republic, I had 
occasion to review the situation and prospects of that period in 
an article dealing with the educational problem.^ The follow- 
ing passage has a direct bearing on the actual situation : — 

" It is impossible to ignore the mighty forces at work, the 
eager interest shown by the people in the new schools, the 
immediate effect upon native thought, influencing every 
grade of society. It is certain that before long these forces 
must come into conflict with the policy and privileges of the 
classical literati and conservatism, and it is therefore a 
matter of no small moment to humanity to ascertain 
whether the moving principles of the new system are likely 
to be constructive or destructive in their effect ; whether 
the wine of the new learning, rapidly absorbed by Young 
China, will act as stimulant or intoxicant ; whether, in fact, 
the patience and patriotism of the Chinese will enable them 
to follow the example of Japan. It is a wide question, vital 
to the cause of humanity. To pass within the life of a 
generation from the Trimetrical Classic to John Stuart Mill, 
from the days of the Crusaders to the twentieth century, is a 
feat of mental and sociological gymnastics not devoid of 
danger ; the people which takes so great a leap risks failure, 
and failure means anarchy and chaos. If one were to judge 
of the prospects in China only by the views of students, as 
expressed in their writings and political speeches, it would 
be safe to predict for the nation gi-ave crises of unreason and 
unrest. But here, as elsewhere, the noise of the student 

1 Vide The Times, 6th February, 1908. 


class is out of proportion to its importance ; beneath its froth 
and foam lies the soul of a people steeped in the philosophical 
traditions of Confucianism, of seriousness and common sense, 
and these may save it from the perils of change." 

Young Chhia has come into its kingdom — but the 
chief characteristics which it has displayed in political and 
executive work since the proclamation of the Republic 
are indiscipline, a craving for change in the forms and 
symbols of authority, an exaggerated sense of its own 
importance and powers of reforming activities, quick-witted 
intelligence and great readiness of tongue and pen, com- 
bined with an emotional fervour of nationalism. These 
characteristics have been manifested from Canton to Peking 
to a degree so marked as completely to overshadow the 
imselfish patriotism of the sincerely patriotic minority, and 
fully to explain the conservative reaction which has already 
manifested itself in several directions. 


Of the indiscipline of the Western-learning students and 
the foreign-drilled troops, it is almost superfluous to speak — 
the facts have been written large in chaos, pillage and crime 
tlu'oughout the eighteen provinces. It is an indiscipline 
which, for the students, begins in the schoolroom (where 
boys and girls boycott their teachers, and combine to send 
telegrams to Peking giving their opinions on political 
matters),^ and ends, either in wordy wars of partisans or, as 
a last argument, in the throwing of bombs. If, as Yen Fu 
has declared, Peking's organisation of the foreign-drilled 
army was " like prescribing a piece of strychnine for a baby 
to suck as a tonic," the education abroad of thousands of 

1 At five o'clock on tlie morning of December 20th, 1911, some 2,000 
students marclicd to the Viceregal yamen at Tientsin and demanded that 
the Viceroy should suj)])ort a petition to the Throne for the immediate 
suninioning of a Parliament. They threatened that they would not leave 
i)efore having obtained his promise to do so. The Viceroy agreed to place 
their views in the proper quarter. The students then departed and paraded 
the city with banners bearing an inscription meaning " Quick Parliament." 



Chinese youths, reheved from parental authority, was no 
less dangerous to a State so dependent upon moral restraints. 
The unruly turbulence of the Chinese students in Tokyo, 
and their repeated attempts to terrorise the Chinese Minister, 
became a public scandal in 1905 — their impulsive Chauvinism 
being equalled only by their contempt for their own Govern- 
ment. Youths brought up in this way, finding themselves 
very generally regarded, upon their return to China, as 
exponents of the new wisdom, could hardly fail to become 
political agitators and conspirators — nor is it remarkable 
that, when in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes," they 
should turn readily to violence and private revenges. 

The development of assassination as a specific branch of 
politics has made some progress since the Revolution, 
particularly at Canton ; but it is safe to say that it is still in 
the initial stage, and that, unless repressed by a strong hand, 
the bomb as a conclusive argument is likely to assume 
importance similar to that which it held amongst the 
Carbonarios of the Portuguese Revolution, and a far wider 
vogue. The North China Herald (2nd February) quotes 
one of the revolutionary leaders as having expressed regret 
that the Republic " should be compelled to use such means 
for the advancement of civilisation." A month before, three 
assassins of his party had endeavoured to murder Yuan 
Shih-k'ai for continuing hostilities against his fellow- 
countrymen." A redeem nig feature in Young China's 
newly-developed taste for explosives may be found in the 
fact that, owing to the ingrained carelessness of Chinese 
workmen, the career of the bomb-makers is usually brief. 
One promising establishment, founded by Hupeh (Japan- 
taught) experts near Chefoo, buried the fragments of its 
entire staff in three successive explosions. 


The emotional and theatrical tendencies of Young China's 
political and patriotic enthusiasms have been observed by 



many writers — tendencies which find their expression in 
Ic <o'este noble, le mot sonoix, in solemn processions and 
curiously anachronistic ceremonies. In purely political 
(juestions such as the granting of a Constitution, the Tatsu- 
maru case with Japan, or an alleged violation of sovereign 
rights," a modern Chinese audience will work itself up into 
a semi-hysterical condition of eloquence and tears, when 
vast sums are subscribed (on paper) and orators will chop off 
a finger joint to demonstrate the intensity of their feelings. 
This emotional quality, the characteristic of the modern- 
educated Chinese crowd, contrasts so strongly wdth the 
restraint and dignity of the Confucian tradition that many 
observers have been thereby misled in attributing to Young 
China, not only unswerving convictions, but tenacity of will 
and a common purpose of achievement. For these political 
enthusiasms are as swift-spreading and contagious as our 
religious revivals ; women, wives and sisters of the eman- 
cipated, organise social and political movements of their own, 
demand the vote and enrol themselves, greatly daring, as 
volunteers in the army of the Republic. Overseas, the 
Cantonese communities of the Straits Settlements and the 
Pacific coast catch the infection of these splendid dreams 
and subscribe their hard dollars to make Young China the 
equal, if not the superior, of the Powers of the West, and 
Canton the fountain-head of its new splendours. The 
pathetic side of all this gigantic game of jerry-building, of 
this splendid valour of ignorance, is increased by the 
sympathetic seriousness wdth which it has been received and 
discussed by the Press of the civilised world : not by that 
Yellow Journalism which instinctively magnifies everything 
that it does not understand, but by the sober and responsible 
Press which forms and leads public opinion. The 
" Awakening of China," its alleged adoption of trial by 
jury, its national conscription and woman suffrage, its 
social and political shibboleths, its imposing shadow-play of 
words against a background of dreams ; all these have been 



solemnly proclaimed as proofs conclusive that the type of 
China's social structure has been suddenly and completely 
changed by the magic formulae of the Revolution. 

The Chauvinism of Young China is, generally speaking, 
non-militant. It consists largely of an instinctive convic- 
tion of racial and intellectual superiority — a feeling not con- 
fined to the Chinese — and vague aspirations to secure 
recognition of that superiority. In the case of students 
educated in Japan, it frequently assumes, however, more 
aggressive forms ; whilst the Cantonese party makes no 
secret of its hopes and plans for curtailing the opportunities 
and privileges of the foreigner. The T'ung-Meng-hui ^ 
Society of Sun Yat-sen and his ardent reformers represents 
chiefly the advanced foreign-educated student class, the 
men who cut their queues and wear foreign clothes, who 
would replace Confucius and Mencius by Rousseau and 
Mill, and the Three Relations " of China's ancient social 
structure by unfettered individualism. Their political pro- 
gramme, greatly increased in importance by the adhesion of 
T'ang Shao-yi, resembles at many points that of Young 
Turkey. Ardently they seek for ways to relieve China of 
the pressure, if not the presence, of the European — to 
abolish his extra territorial privileges, to restrict his rights of 
residence in the interior, to obtain jurisdiction over the 
Treaty Port Settlements and full fiscal autonomy ; but 
Young China's Chauvinism has yet to acquire the discretion 
which Young Turkey had learned in the hard school of 
international experience. 

The Jacobins of China, in their furious zeal for change 

1 In the beginning of September, an arrangement was effected, by the 
leaders of the T'ung-Meng-hui, to amalgamate with five minor political 
groups for the sake of harmony " under a new name, the Kuo-Min-tang, 
or Nationalist party. By this amalgamation the foreign-educated student 
element in the T'ung-Meng-hui was leavened by the older and more 
experienced section of the original Republican movement. I have, however, 
allowed the name T'ung-Meng-hui to stand here, and in subsequent 



profess little belief in anything beyond their own ill-digested 
ideas of civic liberty. For this reason, their Republican 
ideals are become an impossible medley of fantastic in- 
congruities, and the constitutionalists, Liang Ch'i-ch'ao's 
party of INlonarchical Reformers, already predict their 
inevitable failure. It is notable that many men who 
joined the Republicans as fierce Jacobins, propertied men 
like Wu Ting-fang and Wen Tsung-yao, conspicuous in the 
anti-jNIanchu movement, have since passed to the moderate 
side, alarmed at the excesses of military dictatorships. As 
in the French Revolution, honest doctrinaires and visionary 
sectaries are beginning to resolve that fine words butter no 
parsnips, that political platitudes offer no protection against 
the perils of upheaval and change, and the people, le peuple 
hcte, lends itself less readily to the purposes of Jacobins in 
China than that of the Latin races. Already throughout 
the country and especially north of the Yangtsze, there are 
unmistakable signs of a strong revulsion of feeling against 
the new-fangled men and measures which promised the 
millennium and have produced a military despotism. 

Young China, as at present constituted, will pass, the 
shadowy fabric of a restless dream. An inevitable reaction 
will restore the ancient ways, the vital Confucian morality 
and that enduring social structure whose apex is the Dragon 
Throne. But Young China, at its passing, will not have 
been in vain. Something of the Utopia of its visions will 
remain, to renovate and modify that ancient structure. 


Haichow City, North Kiaxgsu Famine Regiox. 



When Her Majesty Tzu Hsi, in the depths of her dejec- 
tion after the Boxer debacle, looked about her to discover a 
way of restoring her shattered fortunes and the prestige of 
her dynasty, the advisers who first confirmed her in the 
direction of a radical reform policy and the gradual intro- 
duction of constitutional government were Jung Lu and the 
Chief Eunuch, Li Lien-ying. Her attempts to maintain 
the dignity of the Empire and to check the aggressions of 
foreigners by means of war-ships and a modern-drilled army 
had resulted in nothing but repeated humiliations and loss of 
territory. She would retrace her steps, take up the Emperor's 
reform policy and endeavour to cure the ills of her State by 
the new prescription of a Constitution. The Edicts which 
she issued between 1905 and 1908, ending with her own 
valedictory decree and that of the Emperor Kuang Hsii, 
clearly reveal an implicit belief, which grew to enthusiasm, in 
the virtues of a Constitution to put an end to China's weak- 
ness and disorganisation. But there is nothing in any of these 
Edicts to indicate that she herself had any clear conception 
as to the nature of the political institutions which the Con- 
stitution would create, or of their applicability to the daily 
life of the masses. Despite the feminine subtlety of her 
mind, her statecraft was frequently of the forcible but 
primitive kind which gives its orders and leaves the rest to 
Providence. She had had it dinned into her ears by Yuan 



Shih-k'ai, Liu K'uii-yi and others that, smce the Japanese 
war, pnbhc ophiion in the turbulent South had steadily been 
growing more and more impatient of autocracy, and that 
something must be done to conciliate its views. She had 
listened to the inductive reasoning of venerable men, inviting 
her attention to the fact that, whereas the nations which 
boast a Constitution are prosperous and strong, those whicR 
have none are poor and weak — and she accepted, willingly 
enough, the facile conclusion. It flattered her amour propj^e 
and restored her hopes of rivalling Queen Victoria in glory, 
to think that it was not so much her errors as the absence of 
a Constitution, that had brought calamity upon her reign : no 
doubt also that, at the back of her mind, there existed an 
intuitive perception of the fact that the granting of a Con- 
stitution need not necessarily impair the authority or the 
dignity of the Throne. She realised that her conversion to 
liberal principles could not fail to impress the European 
Powers, and that the ten years of preparation would give 
the dynasty a much-needed breathing space. She began, as 
usual, by giving publicity to her good intentions in the 
sending of an Imperial Commission under Duke Tsai Tse 
to study the various constitutional systems in force in foreign 
countries ; the results of this mission took shape, in 1905, in 
the issue of the famous Decree in which she definitely pledged 
herself to grant a Constitution in due course. In this Decree 
she frankly proclaimed her concurrence in the opinion that 
" the prosperity and power of foreign nations are largely due 
to principles of constitutional government based upon the 
will of the people," and she therefore declared it to be her 
duty " to consider by what means such a Constitution may 
l)e granted as shall retain the sovereign Power in the hands 
of tlie Throne and at the same time give effect to the wishes 
of the people in matters of administration." She had, 
however, the good sense (which Young China has not 
displayed) to perceive that the political education of the 
electorate and reform of the administration must precede 



the granting of the Constitution ; she reaUsed by the light 
of her own remarkable intelligence that, in seeking to advance 
the material and intellectual conditions of the Chinese 
people, every care must be taken not violently to uproot 
the old institutions, but to graft the new on to the old " so 
that officials and people may be led to realise what executive 
government means as a foundation and preparation for the 
granting of a Constitution." 

All this was seven short years ago. Looking to-day upon 
tlie hopeless chaos of Chinese politics, wherein the realities 
of life and the necessities of government are swamped in a 
mass of meaningless symbols of authority, of endless regula- 
tions that regulate nothing, we perceive the wisdom of the 
Old Buddha and the statesmanship of Jung Lu, who was all 
in favour of the slow and cautious introduction of new 
machinery adapted to the conditions of the raw material. 
Like Prince Ito, whose career and methods Jung Lu had 
carefully studied, he apprehended for China dangers from 
hasty ameliorations greater than those of a political creed 
outworn. In his pathetic valedictory memorial, while 
beseeching Her INIajesty to persevere in the path of reform 
** so that gradually our Middle Kingdom may attain to 
conditions as prosperous as that of the great States of 
Europe and Japan," he put his finger on the spot of China's 
chief weakness in memorable words : During my tenure of 
office as Grand Councillor, I have seen many men appointed 
to offices for which they were by no means fitted ; herein 
lies a source of weakness, but, above all, it is necessary that 
radical change should be made in the selection of District 
JNIagistrates, and in the methods by which taxation is levied 
and collected." The wisdom of Jung Lu, a Manchu, is 
forgotten to-day — the wisdom which would have commenced 
by lightening the burdens of the people and making works, 
not words, the test of good government. Intuitively he 
perceived the vital truth that Young China has yet to learn, 
that (in the words of John Stuart Mill) " a Government's 



arrangements for conducting the collective affairs of the 
community in the state of education in which they already 
are " has comparatively little to do with the fundamental 
constitution of the Government; that the '*mode of conduct- 
ing the practical business of government which is best under 
a free constitution would generally be best also under an 
absolute monarchy : only an absolute monarchy is not so 
likely to practise it. The laws of property, for example ; 
the pnnciples of evidence and judicial procedure ; the system 
of taxation and of financial administration, need not neces- 
sarily be different forms of government." ^ In other words, 
Jung I Ai realised that a rose by any other name would smell 
as sweet, and that, for practical purposes of reform, there could 
be no more virtue in the magic word Constitution than in 
the Cantonese student's bowler hat. 


The programme of Constitutional Reform issued under 
Imperial Edict on the 27th of August, 1908, clearly reflected 
the loss which the Throne had suffered by the death of this 
prudent counsellor. It reflected also close study, by the Com- 
mission of Constitutional Reform, of the principles adopted, 
and the results attained, under the Constitution of Japan. 
Prince P'u Lun and his colleagues of the Commission could 
not fail to perceive in the Japanese system precedents which 
the Manchu dynasty could adopt with every advantage to 
itself : the fact that they were imsuited to China's political 
needs, because of the totally different relations there existing 
between Throne and people, was disregarded, partly because 
of the Commission's complete ignorance of practical politics, 
and partly because of its haste to throw some sort of sop 
to the democratic Cerberus, growling in the South. The 
Constitution, as defined by the Commission's programme, 

1 On Representative Government, Cliapter II. 



was clearly intended to concede popular rights, which, 
in their operation, would always be limited by the preroga- 
tives of the Throne and the ruling class. The Chinese 
Parliament of the future was to possess rights and exercise 
functions which, like those of the Japanese Diet, are subject 
always to the supreme authority of the Emperor and his 
Ministry. The control of national revenues and expenditure, 
generally regarded as the corner-stone of constitutional 
liberties, was to be nominally vested in the people's represent- 
atives, but actually it remained subject to the good will and 
pleasure of the Throne, which reserved the right to prorogue 
or suspend Parliament and "when Parliament is not in 
session, to issue Edicts for the purpose of carrying on 
the government and for raising the necessary funds " — 
provisions similar to those which obtain under the benevolent 
autocracies of Russia and Japan. 

For the masses of the people, the granting of a Constitu- 
tion meant little or nothing. They welcomed the news of 
its coming with the detached enthusiasm which they would 
have accorded to a comet, or any other splendidly intelligible 
phenomenon. But for the Western-learning Intelligents 
and malcontents, fed on the strong meat of American 
democratic principles, the ** nine years' programme of consti- 
tutional preparation " was a snare and a delusion, and their 
dissatisfaction was speedily manifested in an agitation, which 
originated as usual with the Cantonese, for a considerable 
reduction of this period of preparation. They felt, and with 
reason (as was proved by the subsequent history of the 
National and Provincial Assemblies), that, given a 
Parliament for the expression of their grievances and 
aspirations, the loose formation of the INIanchus would 
speedily go down before the organised attacks of their 
determined opposition. This was the attitude of the consti- 
tutional reformers ; but after the death of Tzu Hsi, the 
followers of Sun Yat-sen began actively to conspire against 
the dynasty, at first with the object of declaring the inde- 

113 I 


pendeiice of the Kuang provinces ; so that, with them, the 
granting of the Constitution became, for the moment, a 
matter of secondary importance. Did not its first article 
proclaim the palpable absurdity that " the Taching dynasty 
shall rule over the Taching Empire for ever and ever and be 
honoured throughout all ages " ? 

The details of the nine years' programme of constitu- 
tional preparation " are deserving of notice as a study in the 
mentality of the mandarin. They illustrate in a most 
remarkable manner the Chinese bureaucracy's talent for 
making endless regulations, a talent only equalled by that 
which it displays in breaking them. The making of these 
regulations has nothing in common with Germany's 
disciplined regimentation of citizens : it differs also in effect 
from the moral sign-post system of Japan, although out- 
wardly resembling it in many respects. The paternal 
care of the German Government aims, by ordinances 
and public warnings, to secure from ignorant and 
careless persons uniformity of precautions against public 
inconveniences and dangers, which have arisen within the 
knowledge of men, and may therefore possibly arise again. 
The generally harmless regulations of the Japanese are 
partly an expression of that nation's imitative faculties, and 
partly a survival of the ancient classical profession of word- 
spinning — they serve, as everything serves in Japan, to 
remind a patriotic race of the benevolent activities of its 
rulers and to impress the humbler citizen with the usefulness 
of the man in the blue coat and metal buttons. But in 
China the making of regulations is a learned profession, 
pursued by the bureaucracy without reference to any 
questions of practical utility ; an art, practised for art's sake, 
which occasionally in provincial Yamens, degenerates into a 
pastime — and Young China resembles, and even excels, Old 
China in its forty-parson-power capacity for dividing any and 
every subject into heads and sub-heads innumerable. 




The work of preparing the ground for constitutional 
government speedily resulted in the production of a mass of 
regulations so vast that it may safely be said that the most 
conscientious and industrious member of the National or 
Provincial Assemblies could never have assimilated half of 
them. Those who desire to study this mountain in labour 
will find a careful summary of the Government's first 
regulative processes in the China Year Book for 1912:^ 
behind them all, dimly perceivable through a dense fog of 
confused ideas and verbiage, looms the menace of the new 
mandarin, bureaucracy arming itself with new devices for 
the bewilderment of the people. Most of these regulations 
have now passed into the limbo of forgotten things, with 
the advent of the Republic ; but since their passing an 
army of regulation-spinners has produced a most imposing 
web of Republican ordinances dealing with every conceivable 
subject, whilst another, under the guidance of Japanese 
experts, is proceeding with the preparation of civil, criminal 
and commercial codes. It is interesting, in this connection, 
to observe that, pending the introduction of these codes, 
meticulous " regulations for judicial administration " have 
been promulgated and are now supposed to be in force. 
These include 120 "regulations for Courts of Justice," 
issued under Imperial Edict in December, 1907, and 164 
"regulations for the Judicial System," issued in February, 
1910. Needless to say that neither the Courts of Justice 
nor any of their machinery and equipment, elaborately 
described in these Regulations, are in existence, nor did any 
one expect that they would be. The industrious pundits 
who compile these things proceed on general principles^ 
similar to those of the Szechuan Railway Company's 
directors, who made provision for the building of their line 

^ The China Year Book, by Bell and Woodhead. Routledge and Sons^ 

115 I 2 


by the appointment of Station-Masters. High Courts of 
Justice, Courts of First Instance, Procurators' and Registrars' 
offices, all these will come, no doubt, in good season ; in 
the meanwhile, the discussion and framing of their organisa- 
tion provides opportunities for honest men to fill a certain 
number of new posts. The regulations themselves are 
worthy of study, throwing much light on the average 
Chinese official's conception of W estern institutions, and 
proving, more clearly than any argument could do, the utter 
impossibility of applying our Parliamentary and administra- 
tive systems to the China of to-day. The junior clerks with 
a reputation for expert knowledge of Western affairs, whose 
business it is to elaborate these interminable codes in the 
recesses of the JNlinistries concerned, struggle eternally 
between their penchant for minutiae and their fear of finality, 
so that the general result leaves an impression oi fortiter in 
?fiodo, suaviter in re, infinitely distressing to the European 
mind. Their childlike naivete is only equalled by their 
scrupulous care to provide for every possible contingency of 
human weakness. The legislator, instinctively clinging to 
Confucian tradition, is ever a moralist in disguise. Therefore, 
in dealing with the electorate, he prescribes that none shall 
be qualified to exercise the suffrage "whose conduct is 
perverse and misguided, who decide matters on the spur of 
anreflectnig impulse or who judge their fellow men with 
partiality " ; and, dealing with legal procedure, he ordains 
that " women, children and persons who are disreputably 
clad, may be ordered by the Judge to leave the Court " and 
that " misconduct on the part of subordinate officers of the 
Court may be censured, and, if necessary, rectified, by their 

An interesting return might be compiled, if only data were 
available, of the amount of public money spent on the sending 
of Special Missions, the preparation of reports and the draft- 
ing of laws and regulations connected with China's various 
" paper reforms " of the past decade, with questions such as 



Naval Re-organisation, Currency Reform, or the Standard- 
ising of Weights and Measures ; questions which no one, 
beyond the Chinese officials concerned and a section of the 
European Press, ever regarded as practical politics.^ 


If I refer at such length to the origin and evolution of the 
scheme of constitutional government proposed by the Throne 
under the nine years' programme of 1908, it is because every- 
thing in the actual situation — including the Provisional 
Constitution " issued by the Republican Government at the 
end of March — points clearly to the fact that neither the 
Press nor any party in the State has hitherto faced the 
difficulties and dangers of the immediate future. AYhatever 
may have been the mental reservations and real intentions of 
the jNIanchu Government, the Republic stands definitely 
committed to a Constitution framed either on the French 
or the American model. Nevertheless, there has been 
nothing, either in the debates of the National and Provincial 
Assemblies, in the utterances of recognised leaders, or in the 
provisional President's " Mandates," to indicate that the 
Republic approaches this matter with careful preparation 
and the deep sense of responsibility which it deserves, at a 
time when high seriousness and definite purposes should be 
displayed by the highest intelligence of the nation. When 
the best expert advice should be invoked from abroad for 
discussion of the many and intricate problems that await 
solution, the attention of the Government and of the party 
leaders is concentrated upon questions of finance, upon 
Cabinet intrigues and sordid personalities. As it was under 
the Manchus, so it is to-day: Imperial and national interests, 

^ In a speech before the National Assembly on the 26th of October, 1911, 
Duke Tsai Tse, in introducing the Budget, explained that the Treasury was 
exhausted as the result of expenditure connected with re -organisation and 
refoiTQs. The remedy, in his opinion, lay in the early convening of 
Parliament ! 



the very existence of the country as an mdependent sovereign 
State, are matters subordinate to party feuds and personal 
ambition. The great issues upon which depend the destinies 
of the nation are relegated, by common consent, to a more 
convenient season. Is it not enough that the President has 
sworn to uphold the Constitution? That neither he, nor 
anyone else, has any definite ideas as to what that Con- 
stitution should be, is proof of his comprehensive loyalty to 
Republicanism in the abstract. For the rest, time enough 
to discuss the Constitution when the National Assembly 
has been elected and convened, and the Provisional President 
confirmed in office. The National Parliament Regulation 
Bill, debated and passed by the Advisory Council for the 
first time in June, 1912, conveyed the same impression of 
light-hearted indifference to practical details, the same jaunty 
insouciance, as the Provisional Constitution which, by its 
decision, is to continue in force until the real Constitution 
has been promulgated." 

I do not propose to weary the reader with any detailed 
analysis of this " Provisional Constitution." Its provisions 
being purely academic and without practical significance or 
effect in China, we may fairly regard the whole performance 
with the same mild curiosity, tempered by melancholy, which 
it excites in the average non-political Chinese. It bears, in 
every line, traces of a pundit simplicity more artless even than 
usual ; as reminiscent of the official literature of the INIonarchy 
as the Mandates of Yuan Shih-k'ai himself. Under the 
heading *' Chapter II. Citizens," for instance, we find it 
solemnly recorded that — 

" Art. III. Citizens shall enjoy rights of security of their 
property and freedom to trade. 
Art. V. Citizens shall enjoy the right of secrecy in 

their correspondence. 
Art. XI. Citizens shall be entitled to participate in 
civil examinations. 


Art. XIII. Citizens shall be liable to payment of taxes 

according to law. 
Art. XIV. Citizens shall be liable to military service 

according to law." 

And so on, ad infinitum, 

A wide gulf separates these theories of the art of govern- 
ment from the stern realities of life in China — a gulf not to 
be bridged by the introduction of any new machinery for 
academic discussions and official shibboleths. Some idea of 
the width and depth of this gulf may be gathered from the 
columns of the vernacular Press since the first outbreak of 
looting by the Republican troops — and from the proceed- 
ings of prominent revolutionary leaders of the type of Ch en 
Chi-mei, Military Governor of Shanghai. While making 
all possible allowance for disorders inevitable during a 
period of transition and general unrest, and while fully 
recognising the good intentions of many would-be reformers, 
it is not possible to minimise the thousand ills that spring 
from the all-pervading greed of gain. Consider, for instance, 
the significance of the following Presidential Mandate, 
issued by Yuan Shih-k'ai in July, with reference to the 
wholesale extortion practised by " zealous officials " in con- 
nection with the " Citizens' Fund," or voluntary patriotic 

" As difficulties in Finance have reached a climax, the 
benevolent and the patriots, rising to the occasion with the 
intention of making a united effort to afford mutual 
assistance and support, have advocated the raising of a 
citizens' contribution fund. Their loyalty and righteousness 
thus bursting forth are worthy of our respect and apprecia- 
tion. All persons who are enthusiastic lovers of their 
country would certainly sacrifice some of their wealth in the 
furtherance of the public welfare. Yet the scheme had not 
been working long before abuse set in. Occasionally busy- 
bodies, under the cloak of a good cause, have surreptitiously 
resorted to compulsion. This was really not foreseen by the 



proposers. I, the President, having accepted the trust from 
the citizens, am ashamed of myself for having been unable 
to recuperate the health of the nation. If I were continually 
to let the populace suffer disturbance without caring for 
their well-being, how could I reconcile my conscience ? In 
the Provisional Statute a clause is provided for the protec- 
tion of the people and property. If they themselves do not 
wish voluntarily to give contributions there should be no 
infringing upon their freedom. Therefore, the whole nation 
is hereby informed that if there be any demand by com- 
pulsion for contributions the territorial superior officials are 
to point out or hand the offisnders to the yamens ad- 
ministering justice, to be dealt with strictly as provided in 


From the outset of the agitation of Young China for 
Parliamentary institutions, as a means of organising the 
masses to a state of political consciousness and natural 
efficiency, all classes of reformers have agreed in insisting on 
the elective principle of representation, and on the creation 
of a Parliamentary system of government, which, according 
to Dr. Sun Yat-sen, " is to be broad-based upon the people's 
will, directed by one great central machine, in which every 
province and every man in China shall have a voice." In 
estimating the sincerity which underlies a proposal obviously 
impossible of achievement in the present condition of the 
Chinese people, it must be borne in mind that in this, as in 
all other advanced ideas, the initiative has lain with the 
Cantonese Intelligents and that in the Kuang provinces it is 
permissible to believe in the possibility of something in the 
nature of popular representation. As regards the rest of 
China, however, as every educated Chinese knows (unless, 
like Sun Yat-sen, he has been brought up abroad), the idea 
of rapidly transforming the masses of the population into an 
intelligent electorate, and of making a Chinese Parliament 
the expression of their collective political vitality, is a vain 



dream, possible only for those who ignore the inherent 
character of the Chinese people. Doubtless, amongst the 
enthusiastic exponents of Western learning, there were 
many who really did ignore their countrymen's atavistic 
resistance to change, and many who honestly believed that 
only the immediate convening of a Parliament could protect 
the nation from foreign financial exploitation and territorial 
aggression. But, for the rest, there is much internal 
evidence, in the records and regulations that have ac- 
cumulated in connection with Constitutional Government, 
to show that much of the eloquence expended on the 
subject of effective representation of the sovereign people 
was thoroughly insincere. It need not greatly surprise us, 
indeed, that intelligent and ambitious Chinese youths, 
educated in England, America or Japan, should acquire the 
demagogue's trick of identifying the will and the welfare of 
the people with the fulfilment of his own ambitions ; what 
should surprise us rather is that, when this is obviously the 
case, intelligent observers and the European Press should 
attach implicit belief to the Chinese politician's fervent 
declarations of altruism and unreservedly accept his inter- 
pretation of the wishes of the Chinese people. 

Consider, for instance, the position of affairs in October, 
1909, at the first opening of the Provincial Assemblies, 
which was the signal for a determined, organised campaign 
by Young China to compel the Central Government to 
shorten the nine years' period of Constitutional Prepara- 
tion." At that date the first year's programme had been 
more or less completed (on paper) and its results recorded in 
a formidable mass of regulations and ordinances, of which, 
it is safe to say, the masses remained in complete ignorance. 
The first year's programme included the following reforms : 

1. Organisation of Provincial Assemblies. 

2. Issue of local administrative regulations. 

3. Issue of Census regulations. 



4. Issue of regulations for financial reform. 

5. Establishment of a Bureau for the reform of the 
JNlanchu system. 

G. Preparation of elementary lesson-books for teaching 

7. Preparation of books for general reading. 

8. Revision of the Penal Code. 

9. Drafting of Civil, Commercial and Criminal laws. 

Here, indeed, was a beginning comprehensive enough to 
satisfy the hungriest reformer — promising, moreover, un- 
limited opportunities of honourable and remunerative labour 
for regulation-makers and Western-learning experts. In 
February of the same year (1909) an Imperial Edict had 
been issued, emphasising the national importance of these 
measures and indicating the general procedure to be 
observed for their execution. This document is so 
eloquently suggestive of Chinese bureaucratic methods, 
and of their family likeness to the laws of the Medes and 
Persians, that the reproduction of a portion of its text is 
instructive : 

February 17th, 1909. 

" (1). It has been laid down in the programme, drawn up 
by the Office for the Study of Constitutional Politics, of the 
different measures to be carried out every year, that 
the election of advisory assemblies, the institution of local 
government in districts and departments, the establishment 
of local government societies, and the promulgation of 
regulations for the deliberative assemblies in Peking, are 
to be carried out in the present year. 

" In these matters, the concentration of the minor parts is 
essential as, without this, the central bodies cannot exist. 
The Viceroys, Governors and Manchu Generals-in- Chief, 
and Lieutenants-Generals, who have civil jurisdictions, are 
commanded to direct their subordinates to appoint upright 
and intelligent officials and gentry to organise these 
institutions in due time. 

Their scope, restrictions, powers and duties should be 



according to the promulgated regulations. No procrastina- 
tion should be allowed. The Office for the Study of 
Constitutional Politics shall urge their formation in case of 
delays, also supervise and correct any erroneous workings, 
so as to ensure the establishment of the ' Tzii Cheng Yuan ' 
(Deliberative Assembly) within the limit of time, and carry 
out the desire of the Throne to improve the government 
and to be more in touch with the commonalty. 

" (2). When the Commissioners for the Revision of Laws 
last submitted the Draft Criminal Code, the Office for Study 
of Constitutional Politics communicated it to the Ministries 
and Offices, in and out of Peking, for discussion and 
consideration, to ensure its suitability. Later, the Ministry 
of Education, the Viceroys and Governors of Chihli, 
Liangkiang and Anhui suggested to us that the new and 
old laws of China should be carefully compared and the 
Code should be revised properly, so as to attach due 
importance to human relationship and obligations, and to 
preserve government and peace. We then commanded the 
Commissioner for Revision of Laws to revise carefully the 
Code in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice." 

What a bonne-bouche for a Carlyle ! How his deep 
thunder would have rolled at these mouth-filling titles of 
Button'd men in blue, at such resplendent whitewashing of 
ancient sepulchres ! Commissioners, High Offices, Ministers, 
Viceroys, Governors, and Satraps, all busy devising new 
paths unto the old ends, " directing their subordinates to 
appoint upright and intelligent officials and gentry to 
organise these institutions in due time." Yet none amongst 
them all, and no word in all their ordinances and edicts, to 
speak of the two great master passions, deep-rooted in the 
soul of the people whose will they purport to obey ; no word 
of the race's blind procreative recklessness nor of its hunger- 
driven greed of gain. Strange that an educated governing 
class which avowedly follows Confucius in identifying wise 
government with national morality, should continue, in all 
its new devices of statecraft, to ignore the vital obstacles 



which block the road to poHtical and material progress. 
Amidst all these confident announcements of new panaceas 
and creaking of new machinery, the warnings of history and 
philosophy come but ffiintly, and to few. Nevertheless, 
amongst those who profess admiration for the founders of 
social science in Europe and for the things which make 
representative government possible and beneficent, there 
must be men who realise the truth, who know how delusive 
is the hope that there needs but this kind of instruction or 
that kind of discipline, this mode of repression or that 
system of culture, to bring society into a much better 

In order to gauge the sincerity and practicability of the 
radical reformer's ideal of a constitutional government for 
Cliina, based on the elective principle and representative 
of the whole people, we may briefly consider the results 
obtained under the first two headings of the programme for 
the first year of preparation (1908-09), that is to say, the 
organisation of the Provincial Assemblies and the issue of 
local administrative regulations. 


The llegulations for the Provincial Assemblies present no 
features of especial interest — and certainly none that 
interested the ordinary delegate. The qualifications re- 
quired for exercise of the franchise, however, are deserving 
of attention, for they indicate an unmistakable intention on 
the part of the intellectuals of the middle class to secure for 
themselves a monopoly of influence and political power 
under the new rcgivic. It was, in fact, a franchise whereby 
the Intelligents, the liter ati and gentry of the provinces 
might expect to exercise gradually increasing rights of 
representation in affairs which Peking had hitherto controlled 
without their interference ; but it completely ignored those 



aspirations of the inarticulate masses for direct repre- 
sentation, whereby the Radical extremists have persistently 
justified their Republican movement. It was a " silk-gowned 
franchise," restricted by educational and property quali- 
fications of a kind that made every Provincial Assembly the 
natural protector of the interests of the class which had 
dominated local politics in China for centuries. Only those 
might vote who could prove possession of property to the 
value of five thousand taels (say, £650) or who held a degree 
conferred under the old classical system, or who had 
graduated from a Government High School or INIiddle 
School. The property qualification should prove elastic 
enough in able hands to pack an assembly, if needs be, 
since it is inconceivable, as things are ordered in China, that 
evidence to property should be demanded or supplied. 
But as a matter of fact, packing, canvassing, and the ardours 
of electioneering, as known to Western countries, are 
happily unknown in China, for the simple reason that all 
this business of modern politics is regarded by the average 
merchant and by many of the influential gentry as a 
profession with which they do not desire to be directly 
concerned. The privilege of voting for the first Provincial 
Assemblies was therefore very generally declined, except by 
those whose enthusiasms or private interests impelled them 
to the ballot boxes. For the same reason, candidates for 
election were most frequently drawn from the new Western- 
learning class of professional politician. There were, of 
course, instances of distinguished officials and scholars 
identifying themselves with the new politics — for example, 
the optimus Hanlin, Chang Chien, first Chairman of the 
Nanking Assembly, whom Yuan Shih-k'ai subsequently 
endeavoured to appoint Minister of Commerce — but, on the 
whole, the silk-gowned franchise and its results found, and 
left, the great majority of the middle class apathetically in- 
different. It was certainly no concern of the "stupid 




According to the first year's programme, however, the 
pohtical education of the masses was now to begin, with the 
introduction of simple measures of self-government in every 
city, town and village throughout the Empire. Here, indeed, 
was the essential basis of constitutional government, the 
solid foundation upon which, by educative process, China's 
millions might be emancipated and brought to political con- 
sciousness. The regulations for the introduction of Local 
Self-government were duly compiled, and sanctioned by 
Imperial Edict in January, 1909. They consist of a code of 
120 Regulations, with innumerable heads and sub-heads, 
dealing with every conceivable aspect and business of urban 
and rural committees; to this is appended a code of eighty 
regulations governing the elections to be held in cities, towns 
and \'illages. Upon the issue of these monumental regu- 
lations (the translation of which necessitated a vast amount 
of labour by the Chinese Secretariats of the Legations at 
Peking), the Commission of Constitutional reform submitted 
a memorial to the Throne announcing that the first year's 
programme had been duly carried out. Foreigners in China, 
and the Chinese themselves, have always been accustomed 
to the promulgation of schemes of reform, which no one is 
expected to take seriously except the new officials appointed 
in connection therewith and perhaps a few sympathetic and 
unsophisticated European journalists. But in the present 
case, so urgent were the needs, and so great the dangers 
which threatened the Empire from within and without; so 
sincere appeared to be tlie general desire for better government 
and wider knowledge, that even those in whom experience 
had confirmed scepticism, were disposed to believe that the 
groundwork of tlie Constitution would receive from the 
patri(;tic and intelligent elite of the country the serious 
attention it deserved. The genuine enthusiasm displayed 
in the matter of opium abolition by the educated middle 



class was sufficient to justify optimism. It was almost 
impossible to believe, where the issues at stake were so vital 
and the experiment of local self-government in itself so 
important, that the initiative of the measures prescribed in 
these regulations could fail to enlist the personal attention 
and active co-operation of every reformer. 

But the results proved conclusively that, as far as the 
masses of the people were concerned, the arguments adduced 
by politicians in favour of representative government were 
as untenable as they would be if applied to the political 
regeneration of Patagonians or Malays. More than that, 
they showed that the educated classes, and the political 
agitators who professed to believe in the aspirations of the 
masses towards unified national life, were as insincere in this 
matter as the mandarins of the old regivie, when they evolved 
their periodical schemes for currency reform, or standard 
weights and measures, or practical mining regulations. 
Beyond the appointment, for decency's sake, of a number 
of purposeless officials, the regulations for local self-govern- 
ment produced, and were evidently intended to produce, no 
practical results. A measure which, in the hands of capable 
and patriotic reformers, might have proved the inauguration 
of a social renaissance and laid the foundations of repre- 
sentative institutions, proved, as the pessimists foretold, a 
dead letter from the outset. The text of the regulations, 
carefully examined, reveals in every clause an implicit belief, 
not in the sovereign Avill of the people, but in the inherent 
tendencies of a despotic bureaucracy ; from which " there is 
no outlet, unless in so far as the despotism consents not to 
be despotism." ^ The principle of representative government 
was effisctively negatived, ah initio, by a procedure which 
permitted, or rather directed, District INIagistrates to " elect " 
the people's representatives for the purpose of local govern- 
ment. This in itself was bad enough ; but the fact which 
damns the whole " reform " as hopeless is, that neither the 

^ John Stuart Mill, On Representative Government, Chapter III. 



Provincial Assemblies nor the Central Government have 
displayed the slightest interest in these still-born i^egulations 
or seriously endeavoured to make them effective. 

In any case," says JNlill, " in which the attempt to intro- 
duce representative government is at all likely to be made, 
indifference to it, and inability to understand its processes 
and requirements, rather than positive opposition, are the 
obstacles to be expected." The educated intelligence of 
China, and particularly the Cantonese party, which owes 
most of its theories of reform to the study of European 
methods of government, were perfectly conscious of the 
inability of the Chinese peasantry to understand the pro- 
cesses and requirements of representative government without 
systematic exhortation and guidance. Given a patriotic 
impulse of the kind which stimulated an influential section 
of the intelligence of Russia at the time of the emancipation 
of the serfs, the " nine years' programme of Constitutional 
Preparation " might have proved something better than what 
the Chinese proverb calls " wind in the ear." As events 
have proved, the reform which was to herald the dawn of a 
new day was in fact a dead letter from its birth ; and with 
its relegation to the limbo of bureaucratic insincerities, 
constitutional government in China became, for those who 
faced the truth and realised its importance, an empty shibbo- 
leth, the stuff of politicians' dreams. The apathy of the 
masses in the matter of self-government was only equalled 
by the indifference of the classes who had proposed the 
minutely elaborate scheme for its inauguration. Young 
China, as represented in the Provincial and National 
Assemblies, proved its atavistic belief in the superiority of 
words over works for purposes of reform. 

The deliberations of the Provincial Assemblies were 
conducted with dignity and decorum ; but their efforts 
were clearly directed, not towards the elevation of the 
masses, but towards curtailment of the powers of the metro- 
politan administration. Their collective activities became 



concentrated on acceleration of the " nine years' programme." 
Salvation lay, not in preparing themselves and the people 
for a form of constitutional government adaptable to 
the existing social structure, but in demanding the imme- 
diate establishment of Parliamentary government, i.e., the 
immediate recognition of their own right to represent the 
inarticulate and unregenerate masses. Their importunate de- 
mands triumphed over the better judgment of the terrorised 
Regent and his advisers. On the 4th of November, 1910, 
an Imperial Edict ordained that Parliament would be 
convened in 1913, that is to say, the period of preparation 
was to be shortened by four years. The National Assembly, 
then six weeks old, was dissatisfied ; it demanded the 
immediate convening of Parliament, as a matter more 
urgent than any preparation for a Constitution. The 
Parliament was practical politics ; the Constitution, in 
the estimation of the people's self-elected representatives, 
was evidently a matter to be considered at a more convenient 
season. Throughout the stormy session of November- 
December, 1910, the question of the Constitution and of 
the various preliminary reforms outlined in the nine years' 
programme, faded into a remote distance, while the Assembly 
and the Government struggled fiercely over the prerogatives 
of the Grand Council. Again the Manchu organisation 
proved utterly unable to cope with the new forces brought 
against them, and on the 25th of December a sop was 
thrown to the agitators by the creation of a so-called Cabinet, 
and by the drafting of a revised programme for Constitutional 
Reforms. In its brief first session, the National Assembly 
demonstrated, firstly, the utter helplessness of the Manchus 
as rulers ; secondly, its own highl}^ developed instincts of 
destruction ; lastly, its contempt for its own Constitution 
and Regulations. But in spite of proceedings and achieve- 
ments characterised by a general spirit of indiscipline, the 
National Assembly failed — probably because of the large 
number of Government nominees in its membership — to 

129 K 


satisfy the ardent spirits of the southern revolutionaries, 
who solemnly denounced its personnel and repudiated its 
proposals. In all its proceedings it had displayed an 
ingrained racial inability to inaugurate, or even to appreciate, 
that government of law which is the basis of all W estern 
civilisation, and added its final testimony to the inap- 
plicability of a Constitution (as we understand that term) to 
the political and social structure at present existing in China. 
All the proceedings of Young China, preparatory to the 
convening of a Parliament, prove clearly, except for those 
who are blinded by their enthusiasms, that the masses of the 
people have no more prospect of being directly represented 
in that parliament than they had in the Grand Council. 
Constitutional government in China resolved itself into an 
organised effort by the educated, executive class to secure, 
firstly, the abolition of Manchu power, and secondly, a 
political " clearing house " for the Provincial Assemblies. 

There is nothing in these results which need surprise the 
student of history and sociology ; on the contrary, it would 
have been a political miracle had the oriental, passive type of 
character, which exists naturally under autocratic govern- 
ment, suddenly become changed into the active self-helping 
type, which demands representative institutions. The 
Rules for Local Self-government, laboriously compiled with 
scissors and paste by well-meaning pundits under the 
Commission of Constitutional Reform, could have no possible 
meaning for the masses of China, and therefore no hope of 
fulfilment. Only in the south-eastern provinces, where 
something approximating to the active self-helping type 
exists, could there be any prospect of even a partial 
materialisation of those pundits' dreams of local self-govern- 
ment, producing the "libraries, the newspaper-reading 
rooms, the public scavenging and sanitation, the dispensaries, 
hospitals and medical schools ; tlie parks, anti-opium institu- 
tions " ; the public buildings and street lighting, technical 
schools, and industrial exhibits ; the regulation of commerce 




c z 


and relief of famine, enumerated under Article 5 (sub- 
heads A to H) of the regulations. 

Since the passing of the INIonarchy and the birth of the 
Republic, most of the foundations of the Constitution have 
had to be relaid, and the final plans for the building itself 
remain, for the moment, subject to alteration. A new 
group of regulation-weavers, drawn chiefly from Young 
China of the South, has produced several tentative drafts, 
compiled with the assistance of My. Shida and other Japanese 
experts, from all sorts of existing and defunct Constitutions ; 
but the text of the provisional Constitution may fairly be 
regarded as generally indicative of the lines of thought and 
procedure which the people s chosen representatives " may 
be expected to follow. In the beginning of the mo\'ement, 
under the ^lonarchy, the opinion of Young China inclined 
towards a Constitution framed on the British model. Even 
when the Manchus' fate was clearly sealed, when Yuan 
Shih-k'ai was making his last hopeless stand for a Consti- 
tutional Monarchy, an edict of the 2nd of November, issued 
in compliance with the demands of General Chang Shao- 
tseng of Lanchou, directed the National Assembly to draft 
a Constitution framed on British lines. It was then 
announced that " the Assembly hoped to abolish all those 
customs, laws, and regulations which are incompatible with 
a Constitution modelled on that of Great Britain." The 
Assembly's Memorial, in submitting the nineteen funda- 
mental articles of the Constitution which had been dictated 
by the Lanchou troops, urged their immediate adoption " as 
the only remedy for a desperate situation " and added that 
" the British Constitutional ^Monarchy had been selected for 
adoption in China." The Times correspondent at Peking 
sympathetically observed that the nineteen articles showed 
a close study of the British Constitution." The proposed 
abolition of all " customs, laws, and regulations " which 
failed to conform thereto, was generally regarded as afford- 
ing a simple and satisfactory solution of the Chinese 

131 K 2 


problem. True, the British Constitution consists largely of 
precedents and principles unwritten ; but an unwritten law 
which everyone might spontaneously obey seemed, in the 
eyes of well-meaning enthusiasts, even more hopeful than a 
written Constitution which required nine long years of 
preparation for impossible reforms. 


With the Monarchy, devotion to the British Constitution 
passed, of necessity, from the scene, and a close study of 
American and French models gave new occupation to many 
industrious clerks. As matters stand, urgent questions of 
foreign loans and domestic finance have relegated all abstract 
theories and projects of government to the uncertain future ; 
and the political horizon to the North is dark with threaten- 
ing clouds. He would be a bold prophet who should define 
the geographical frontiers of the territorj^ which will be 
covered by China's Constitution whensoever finally adopted, 
and bolder still he who should foretell by what of common 
interest and responsibility the provinces are to be held 
together in a Federal Union. At what point, and by what 
authorit}^ shall provincial autonomy be made subordinate to 
national interests ? Can any Constitution or form of words, 
anything, in fact, short of the unchecked authority of a 
strong ruler, hold China together as a sovereign State ? 
These things are upon the knees of the Gods ; but this is 
certain, that whatever may be the type of Parliamentary 
procedure established by the National Assembly, any form 
of Constitution which claims to provide for representa- 
tive government, or faithfully to embody the democratic 
principles upon which the Ilepublic is supposed to have 
been founded, must be foredoomed to failure. Such a 
Constitution, if deliberately passed with the approval of the 
educated classes, could only mean that, for the present, 
China must be numbered amongst those States in which, 



under cloak of lofty ideals and professed devotion to the 
welfare of the people, the self-seeking purposes of 
professional politicians are the real aim and object of 
government. It is no new thing, even amongst modern 
Republics, and politically conscious nations, that a Con- 
stitution embodying all the noblest sentiments of progressive 
humanity should fail to improve the conditions of life for 
the common people. In Portugal, for instance, under a 
Constitution splendidly eloquent of all the benefits to be 
conferred by a new era of liberty, equality, and fraternity, 
the Rotativist system continues to flourish, while the 
economic and social conditions of the people are no whit 
better than under the Monarchy. In many of the South 
American Republics, Constitutions breathing the very spirit 
of pure reason and morality have served alike the ends of 
bloodthirsty tyrants and benevolent despots. A Constitu- 
tion embodying the collective intelligence of Persia carmot 
rescue the country from disorganisation and disruption. In 
Turkey, the Record of Constitutional Government is par- 
ticularly instructive, because of its bearing on the situation 
in China. The Constitution wrested from Abdul Hamid in 
July, 1908, seemed indeed to the people of Turkey — Jews, 
Greeks, Albanians, Bulgars and Turks — the splendid dawn 
of a long-hoped-for day. The public rejoicings at Salonica 
and Constantinople were memorable scenes, marked by 
enthusiasm so universal and sincere that the Chancelleries 
and Press of Europe were moved to a chorus of sympathetic 
approbation. Nevertheless, no sooner had Young Turkey 
settled down to its civilising patriotic labours, than the 
beatific vision faded, and the stern realities of conflicting 
classes, creeds and customs reasserted themselves. Within 
six months of the proclamation of the Constitution, the 
first General Election had been held — or rather made " — 
under conditions which gave the subject masses cause to 
revise their conception of liberty, equality, and fraternity. 
After the collapse of the reactionary movement which took 



place early in J 908, the Young Turks, flushed with success 
and encouraged by the undiscriminating approval of the 
Powers, proceeded to nullify every important privilege con- 
ceded by the Constitution and to suppress even those 
ancient rights which the people had enjoyed under the old 
regime. Secret societies, brigandage and political assassina- 
tions became the order of the day ; disaffection in the 
army grew apace — the general condition of the country 
became even worse than it had been under Abdul the 
Damned. In the so-called elections of 1911, the Mace- 
donian peasants were forced to the polls and compelled, 
by every device of unscrupulous officialdom, to legalise a 
tyranny for which there was no remedy. At the same 
time, the leaders of Young Turkey displayed an intolerant 
Chauvinism, entirely inconsistent with their professions of 
liberalism, which rapidly alienated the sympathies of friendly 
Powers. After four years of incessant civil strife and fruitless 
wars, the Young Turk regime^ weighed and found wanting, 
collapsed, leaving the country exposed to the new dangers 
of a military dictatorship. And amongst all this chaos and 
crime floats, a melancholy derelict, the wreck of a futile 

But, despite China's disastrous experiences of the past fifty 
years, and the foredoomed failure of her present political 
experiments, it is difficult for any student of her history and 
people to doubt that the splendid qualities and instinctive 
common sense of the masses will assert themselves in time 
to avert the worst consequences of Young China's headlong 
iconoclasm. Despite every fresh proof of inertia in the 
masses and incompetence in their self-constituted leaders, 
we are impelled instinctively to hope against hope that, from 
out of all this trouble and turmoil of new forces, the ancient 
weather-beaten structure will presently emerge, modified 
and strengthened, to adapt itself to its changing environ- 
ment ; that the collective intelligence of the race will 
perceive and understand that all laws and institutions and 



appliances which count on getting from human nature, 
within a short time, much better results than present ones, 
will inevitably fail." ^ When this occurs, China will evolve 
her Constitution, based not on the experience of alien 
civilisations, but on her own social, economic and political 
limitations and power of growth. 

^ Herbert Spencer r Stiidy of Sociology, Chapter VI. 




The outward and visible signs of resemblance between 
the Turkish and the Chinese Revolution have naturally 
engaged the attention of many observers. The position of 
the military element as final arbiter of the destinies of both 
nations is ominously significant of future unrest ; for recent 
events have clearly proved, even to confirmed optimists, 
that neither country is yet fit for the application of con- 
stitutional principles of government, as we understand them. 
Both nations are still, politically speaking, in the Middle 
Ages ; every attempt to adapt to them the uses of repre- 
sentative institutions is doomed to end in failure. The 
imposing facade may be there, all neatly painted and 
garnished, but behind it are the unchanging ways of the 
Oriental Bazaar. Considered in the light of history and 
social science, the chances of China's eventual survival as a 
great nation would appear to be far better than those of 
Turkey, even though, for the present, the nation's 
philosophical anti-militarism prevents the Central Govern- 
ment from asserting the authority essential to prevent 
disruption, and although Young China, as compared with 
Young Turkey, presents certain features of inferiority. 

On the IGth of December last I had the good fortune to be 
present, a spectator in the Strangers' Gallery, at a session of 
the Chamber of Deputies in Constantinople, when Said 



Pasha's policy on a constitutional question concerning the 
dissolution of the Chamber by the Sultan, was subjected 
to a violent attack by the Opposition. The proceedings 
afforded an unusually instructive object lesson in the political 
and social economics of a nation in process of adapting itself 
to a new and complex environment. Here was the young 
and heady wine of European democracy visibly agitating an 
ancient but serviceable skin of Asia ; here were the blood- 
brethren and beneficiaries of the Revolution already divided 
amongst themselves, afflicted by the eternal questions that 
separate the haves from the have-nots, the believer from the 
infidel. Here was the new administrative machine settling 
down into the old inevitable grooves — a " Committee of 
Union and Liberty " fiercely assailing a Committee of 
Union and Progress." Here was the impatient new, fiercely 
striving to ring out the philosophic old — a silent struggle of 
systems, grim conflict of human and racial forces of East and 
West, all set forth and conducted upon lines of parliamentary 
procedure. The Chamber, in its severely practical archi- 
tecture and equipment, was suggestive of a lecture hall or an 
anatomical school, and the beardless young men who 
occupied the tiers of seats and desks on the Left might have 
lent colour to this suggestion, but that their behaviour was 
far removed from that of men who come to listen or to learn. 
Observing their fierce minatory gestures, listening to their 
passionate outcries of derision and protest ; noting the 
nervous, almost hysterical, emotions evoked by their leader's 
fine frenzy of denunciation at the Tribune, one's thoughts 
reverted instinctively to the main source of all this eloquence 
and political upheaval, to the Mountain of the Jacobins and 
to the Encyclopaedists who sowed such fertile seeds of change 
and unrest ; to the intellectual giants, the fierce malcontents, 
the hungry sans-ailottes and visionary demagogues of the 
French Revolution, whose words and works are bearing such 
strange fruits to-day unto the uttermost parts of the earth. 
Over against these Jacobins of modern Turkey sat, calm and 



dignified, the deputies of the Centre and Right, impressive 
in themselves, because of the gravity and decorum of their 
bearing. Many of them wore the conventional frock coats 
of AVestern Ein-ope ; but the dull glow of red fezes above 
the black served as an insistent reminder of Islam ; whilst 
sprinkled through the house, were other outward and visible 
signs of the complexity of the Moslem Empire. Here were 
the green and white turbans of ulemahs, mollahs, and hodjas ; 
the beards and baggy trousers of a score of softas ; the 
gorgeous and gold-braided turbans of deputies from Arabia 
and Syria, together with a leaven of military uniforms ; 
picturesque and significant features of a gathering that, 
beneath all its conventions of modernity, conceals the swift 
currents and deep-rooted passions of antagonistic races and 
creeds — Jews, Greeks, Albanians, Armenians, Bedouins, and 
Kurds, all brought here together by permission of the 
dominant Turk, to work out so much of their destinies as 
may be solved by panaceas of constitutional procedure. 

It was an unusually stormy seance, the Opposition and the 
Independents (elated by recent electioneering successes and 
by defections from the other side) forcing their attack upon 
the Grand Vizier with fierce personal invective, bitter irony, 
and thinly-veiled threats. Speeches by deputies of the 
Centre and Right were punctuated by hostile interruptions 
and derisive laughter — forefingers of scorn were pointed 
to and from all parts of the house ; half a dozen heated 
arguments were often proceeding simultaneously between 
individual members, either shouting from their seats or 
gesticulating in the gangways. The simulated fervour of 
politicians showed many signs of giving place to genuine 
passions of conflict, and this most noticeably where the 
cosmopolitan freethinkers of Paris-bred young Turkey 
attacked the high places of Moslem orthodoxy. Above 
the tumult and the shouting clanged the noisy futility of 
the President's bell ; while beneath the Tribune, grimly 
impassive, sat the Dictator of the Revolution, " second 



conqueror of Constantinople" — Mahmud Shevket Pasha, 
JNIinister of War, — meditating, no doubt, on the strange uses 
of constitutional government. It was a scene that threw no 
little light upon the working of the Turkish parliamentary 
machine ; at the same time, it explained Hajji B aba's im- 
pression of our House of Commons — " a house of madmen 
who meet half the year round for the purpose of quarrelling." 

As the aged Said Pasha made his slow and painful way to 
the Tribune and commenced reading, in a weary monotone, 
his platitudinous defence of the proposed modification of the 
Constitution, the uproar ceased for a little while, hushed partly 
by the Turk's instinctive reverence for old age, and partly 
because the Grand Vizier's voice was scarcely audible beyond 
the front benches. But not for long ; the old man, fumbling 
amongst his papers, began to read for the second time some 
dreary notes on the Belgian Constitution, and the howls and 
jeers broke out afresh. As I watched the pitiful figure of the 
man who had been Abdul Hamid's dme damnee, as I thought 
on the changes which he had seen and suffered since the 
passing of the autocrat of Yildiz Kiosk, there came to my mind 
the remembrance of another Eastern premier fallen upon evil 
days. Prince Ch'ing, Grand Chamberlain, opportunist-in-chief 
and head squeezer of the Chinese Empire, and I saw him again 
as he was, a sorrowful and shifty figure, together with his 
henchman, the Chief Eunuch Li Lien-ying, at the funeral of 
the Empress Dowager three years ago. The memories thus 
evoked came as a fitting culmination to emphasise many points 
of resemblance between the state of Young Turkey and that 
of Young China, things of which one is first subconsciously 
aware when the railway carries one through that cutting in 
the Theodosian Wall which has its exact counterpart in the 
approaches to the Ch'ien-men terminus at Peking. The 
mournful cabbage gardens that find shelter in the No- Man's 
Land beneath the ancient mouldering battlements ; the 
treeless hills enclosing dusty plains and endless vistas of 
desolation ; the hand-to-mouth existence of hereditary 



bondsmen ; the pullulating slums, the human scarecrows 
whining for backsheesh ; strange sounds and stranger smells, 
that suggest the unfathomable depths of Eastern life. All 
these features of Constantinople, as a permanent and 
immutable background for the latest manifestations of 
Europe's dominant but ever-alien civilisation, may be seen 
and heard by travellers to-day in Peking and the provincial 
capitals of China. 

My thoughts had wandered, far from Said Pasha and his 
apathetic exposition of constitutional government, back to 
the days when Abdul Hamid and Tzu Hsi, all unconscious of 
impending doom, governed their respective Empires, when 
suddenly there sat down beside me a Chinese gentleman, 
middle-aged, soberly dressed in grey silks, tall, dignified and 
entirely at his ease. He came with the inevitable and 
irrelevant suddenness of a dream ; and it seemed quite fitting 
that, upon his being seated, several green-turbaned Moslem 
clerics turned their attention from Said Pasha, and came to 
salute him with the curiously impressive greetings that pass 
between the Faithful. Engaging him in conversation, I 
found him to be a native of Peking and a doctor by profession. 
He had just made the pilgrimage to Mecca, having come 
from China by sea, and was returning via London and the 
Silberian Railway. As a good Mahomedan, he had done his 
poor best to grow a beard, an effort which detracted 
something from an otherwise prepossessing appearance. He 
spoke Arabic fluently, but no European tongue, and plunged 
straightway into expression of his deep concern at the 
progress of the Revolution in China and the dangers 
threatening life and property at Peking. xVfter satisfying 
his sundry and manifold inquiries concerning the price of 
commodities in Europe, the cost of travel by the Siberian 
route, and the dangers of life in London, I succeeded in 
directing his attention to the scene before us. His opinion 
of constitutional government, as a solution of the troubles 
and adversities of Asiatic peoples, was frankly sceptical. A 



good Moslem, no doubt, and possibly a good doctor, he was 
evidently no expert politician, but his attitude and views 
were peculiarly interesting and instructive, if only because 
there are seven million Mahomedans in China, and their 
sentiments towards the Government can never be a negligible 
quantity. He looked down upon the turbulent deputies of 
the Opposition with the calm detachment of a philosopher, 
tolerantly contemplating, through this veil of illusion, these 
"unaccountable, uncomfortable works of God." But at a 
moment when half a dozen of the malcontents were dancing, 
gesticulating, and shouting as one man, loudly advising the 
Grand Vizier to go home and resign, he turned to me and 
said, " I hear that the Chinese are also to have a Parliament. 
You English have had one for many years. Is your Parlia- 
ment just like this ? " I think that, to his mind as to mine, 
there occurred a prophetic vision of Young China, all in frock 
coats and top hats, howling itself hoarse in denunciation of 
Prince Ch'ing and the elder statesmen of the Middle 
Kingdom, for the greater glory and felicity of the Chinese 
people — but the British vision was clearly beyond his powers 
of imagination. I told him that, though our methods and 
manners were still peculiarly our own, the result of democratic 
principles applied to the art of government are much the 
same all the world over. This seemed to afford him some 
satisfaction ; but he continued to express deep concern in 
regard to the Republican movement in China, and admiration 
for the Turks who, in spite of their revolutionary triumphs, 
had been wise enough to hold fast to their ancient customs 
and beliefs in maintaining the monarchical principle. He 
ridiculed the idea that China could be well and orderly 
governed by the hot-heads and amateur politicians of the 
Cantonese party, and spoke bitterly of the excesses and abuses 
which must follow from their sudden rise to power. " They 
will eat up the country Hke locusts," he said, ''their 
destruction will be worse than that of the Boxers." At the 
back of his mind, no doubt, there lurked an uncomfortable 



presentiment of Peking at the mercy of the rabble, visions of 
the looting mob descending on his defenceless home in Gold 
Fish Street. These things meant more to him than any 
theoretical virtues in constitutional government, for which, 
indeed, he professed no sort of respect. 

In considering the present condition of affairs in China, it 
is natural enough to compare the rapid success of the Revolu- 
tionary movement with the triumph of the Young Turks in 
1908 ; and to emphasise the points of resemblance between 
Young China and Young Turkey. But the resemblant 
features are essentially on the surface, and there is, I think, 
a general tendency to exaggerate the permanence and con- 
structive value of the new forces (evoked in both cases by 
Western learning and economic pressure) and to assume that 
they are destined rapidly to change national and structural 
characteristics. In the recent history of the Chinese Empire 
and of the Revolution (which is no revolution of the Chinese 
people, but merely the accidental triumph of a body of 
politicians), there are many episodes and phases for which 
exact parallels may be found in the recent history of Turkey. 
Indeed it is impossible to study the evolution and results of 
constitutional government in the Ottoman Empire, to 
examine into the fundamental origins of the nation's chronic 
troubles of disorder and unrest, without perceiving something 
identical, in causes and effects, not only in China, but in 
India, Persia, and other parts of Asia. The record of the 
corrupt Hamidian regime, for instance, greatly resembles 
that of the Court of the Manchus ; the words and works of 
the Cantonese progressives have much in common with those 
of the Salonika Committee ; the inefficiency and corruption 
of the officials in both countries have greatly contributed to 
the general rottenness of the State, and the insidious 
influences of cosmopolitan finance have increased it, steadily 
aiding and abetting "peaceful penetration" by the Powers 
that claim the reversion of every Sick Man's heritage. In 
both countries, much of the first enthusiasm of the common 



cause of nationalism has evaporated, exposing predominant 
motives of personal ambition ; in both there are unmistakable 
symptoms of unreasoning Chauvinism, combined with short- 
sighted neglect of national and Imperial interests. In both 
countries (but especially in China) the sincere and unselfish 
minority has been speedily swamped by place-seeking 
students and unruly soldiers ; the voice of the patriot has 
been drowned in the clamour of the politician, and the 
cohesion temporarily inspired by a common cause against the 
Throne has been followed by a reaction of internal feuds and 
other forces of disruption. 

In these immediate causes and results of revolution, the 
state of China has therefore much in common with that of 
Turkey. But these things, as I have said, are on the surface : 
beneath them, less obvious to the passer-by, but more vitally 
important, there exist fundamental differences in the 
structural and political character of the two races (as well as 
in their environment) which, in determining their respective 
destinies, must eventually outweigh the temporary and semi- 
accidental ascendancy of any particular class of politicians. 
The instincts and traditions of Asiatic races cannot be 
suddenly changed by the drafting of a Constitution ; in the 
long run, every nation gets the government it deserves, all 
political quid nuncs to the contrary notwithstanding. 

Amongst the important differences between the Turkish 
nation and the Chinese, the most conspicuous lies in the fact 
that whereas the Chinese are a homogeneous people, bound 
together by community of traditions, laws, and literature, 
the Turks of the Ottoman Empire are practically an army 
of occupation, environed by subject races, more or less 
hostile. The spirit which moves Young Turkey is a spirit 
of militant Ottomanism ; the spirit which moves Young 
China, pace the firebrands of Canton, is a doctrinaire spirit of 
political speculation. The dream of the Young Turk is 
to restore the military power and prestige of the Empire, 
undermined by the pernicious rule of Abdul Hamid : to 



recover Bosnia and Bulgaria and Crete. The ideal professed 
by Young China is rather that of the Hague Conference and 
Count Tolstoi, an ideal of peace founded on reason, together 
with universal recognition of the intellectual and moral 
superiority of the Chinese race. The Young Turk hopes in 
time to abolish the Capitulations and to obtain tariff 
autonomy, for the greater glory of Islam and the defenders 
of the Faith ; Young China cherishes similar hopes, but 
chiefly in view of the lucrative opportunities thereupon 
depending. The Turkish Revolution was accomplished by 
the army, loyally fulfilling the purposes of the nation ; 
the Chinese Revolution was the work of students, 
journalists, and mandarins, effected almost without fighting ; 
and the army of the Republic now constitutes its chief 

Another fundamental difference between the races, far- 
reaching in its political results, lies in the deep-rooted 
religious faith of the Turkish people, and the agnostic 
indifference of the Chinese. The Mahomedan faith gives 
something more than dignity to the true believers ; the 
Koran and the Sacred Law are the inspiration of the nation's 
unity : the Sword and the Banner of the Prophet are the 
strong bulwarks of its defences. For the Chinese, hereditary 
agnostics and passive resisters by instinct, such a thing as a 
Holy War is inconceivable — the folly of outer barbarians. 
But it is because of their religious faith that the Turks have 
clung to the things which still hold the Empire together; to 
the Heir of Osman on his sacred Throne, to the observances 
and feasts of the Law, to reverence of elders, and to 
discipline. All these things, together with the ethical 
restraints of Confucianism, Young China would cast by the 
board, letting the ship of State drift rudderless on perilous 
seas, hoping somehow and some day to reach the Utopian 
Lotus-land of its imagination. Moreover, because in Turkey 
experience and wisdom count for more than enthusiasm, and 
because the final control of Government rests with the Elder 



Statesmen, it is possible for the Porte, without loss of prestige, 
to avail itself of the services of foreign advisers for the 
adjustment of its finances, for the supervision of its revenues, 
and even for the restoration of order in its disaffected 
provinces, giving to these advisers a free hand within reason- 
able limits of authority and deriving from their services no 
small profit, as in the case of the Customs. In China, the 
classes at present dominant are so deeply imbued with the 
self-sufficiency and the valour of ignorance, that the employ- 
ment of Europeans in any position of authority is regarded 
as quite unnecessary waste of money and loss of "face." 
That the Powers should even suggest supervision over the 
expenditure of borrowed capital is construed as a direct 
violation of the Republic's "sovereign rights," besides 
being a clear loss of the individual opportunities of 

In discussing political and economic questions with the 
Progressives of China and Turkey alike, one finds at every 
turn deep traces of the influence exercised on their minds by 
the philosophers and essayists of the French Revolution, and 
by the later political economists of England. The works of 
John Stuart Mill, in particular, are well known to Eastern 
students (though more especially in India and China), the 
directness and lucidity of his inductive logic and the 
benevolence of his philosophy appealing powerfully to the 
Oriental mind. But the Chinese student, like other men, is 
apt to find in the works of the wise men of the West, those 
things which his own preconceived ideas impel him to seek — 
the things which justify his own conclusions. Therefore, we 
find the influence of Mill directed chiefly into channels 
where, meeting with that of Rousseau and Burke, it flows 
towards the uncharted storm-tossed sea of Liberty, Equality, 
and Fraternity ; whilst those things which would seem to 
have been specially written for the learning of Young China, 
are rarely quoted by its pubhc speakers and writers. Take, 
for instance, the question of the abolition of the Monarchy, 

145 L 


settled (for the time being) by a handful of Cantonese 
students, upon democratic principles derived from American 
text-books ; or the correlated question of the fitness of the 
Chinese race for representative government. Many passages 
might be cited from JNIill's essay on the latter subject, which 
should give pause to the enthusiasts who believe that a new 
era has dawned for China with the proclamation of the 
Republic. The following quotations will serve, taken from 
the chapter headed " Under what social conditions 
representative Government is inapplicable " : 

" The same passages of history forcibly illustrate another 
mode in which unlimited monarchy overcomes obstacles to 
the progress of civilisation which representative government 
wniild have had a decided tendency to aggravate. One of 
the strongest hindrances to improvement, up to a rather 
advanced stage, is an inveterate spirit of locality. Portions 
of mankind, in many respects capable of, and prepared for, 
freedom, may be unqualified for amalgamating into even the 
smallest nation. Not only may jealousies and antipathies 
repel them from one another, and bar all possibility of 
\'oluntary union, but they may not yet have acquired any of 
the feelings or habits which would make the union real, 
supposing it to be nominally accomplished. They may, like 
the citizens of an ancient community, or those of an Asiatic 
village, have had considerable practice in exercising their 
faculties on village or town interests, and have even realised 
a tolerably effective popular government on that restricted 
scale, and may yet have but slender sympathies with any- 
thing beyond, and no habit or capacity of dealing with 
interests common to many such communities. 

The third cause of failure in a representative government 
is, when the people want either the will or the capacity to 
fulfil the part which belongs to them in a representative 
constitution. When nobody, or only some small fraction, 
feels tlie degree of interest in the general afJairs of the State 
necessary to the formation of a public opinion, the electors 
will seldom make any use of the right of suffrage but to 
serve their private interest, or the interest oi their locality, 



or of some one with whom they are connected as adherents 
or dependents. The class who, in this state of pubhc feehng, 
gain the command of the representative body, for the most 
part use it solely as a means of seeking their fortune. If 
the executive is weak, the country is distracted by mere 
struggles for place ; if strong, it makes itself despotic, at the 
cheap price of appeasing the representatives, or such of them 
as are capable of giving trouble, by a share of the spoil ; and 
the only fruit produced by national representation is, that in 
addition to those who really govern, there is an assembly 
quartered on the public, and no abuse in which a portion of 
the assembly are interested is at all likely to be removed." 


" A people are no less unfitted for representative govern- 
ment by extreme passiveness and ready submission to 
tyranny. If a people thus prostrated by character and 
circumstances could obtain representative institutions, they 
would inevitably choose their tyrants as their representatives, 
and the yoke would be made heavier on them by the 
contrivance which prima facie might be expected to 
lighten it." 

To sum up. The Turkish Revolution was a movement 
effectively organised against the real tyranny of a corrupt 
and vindictive ruler by the leaders of a highly centralised 
military Power; its objects were not to destroy the social 
structure of the dominant race, but to solidify its authority 
and to conciliate or divide the non-Turkish elements in the 
State. To this extent, it was a revolution justified by 
necessity and, to some extent, by its results. The Chinese 
revolution has grown out of the accidental success of an 
insignificant local rebellion, precipitated by the moral and 
physical helplessness of rulers who had lost all capacity for 
ruling. Destitute of constructive genius, without authorita- 
tive leaders or permanent elements of cohesion, the Chinese 
Republic has been suddenly conferred upon a people 
that neither wants nor understands representative govern- 

147 L 2 


ment. Under such conditions, it would seem as if only a 
miracle, in the shape of a strong leader endowed with 
extraordinary political wisdom — a Chinese Charlemagne or 
Peter the Great — can save the nation from a period of 
disorganisation and disruption. But the ultimate cohesion 
of the Chinese race has survived many such periods. 





If, as I have endeavoured to show, the inauguration of 
the Repubhcan idea of Constitutional Government in China 
can only mean, in the present state of the people, continual 
transference of an illegal despotism from one group of 
political adventurers to another, the pretence of popular 
representation serving merely to increase and perpetuate 
instability, it follows, as an inevitable conclusion, that the 
establishment of a Republic is either a tragedy or a farce. 
The idea of evolving from existing Chinese institutions a 
representative government, based on democratic principles 
similar to those which obtain in Switzerland or the United 
States, is palpably absurd ; the vision of a Republic framed 
on the military dictator models of Mexico or Uruguay, 
opens up an intolerable prospect of brigandage and blood- 
shed in which the civilised Powers, for their own sake, must 
needs intervene. We may therefore regard the Republic of 
China as an accidental and transient phenomenon, which 
must be replaced within the near future, either by the 
absolute monarchy of the Man of Destiny, for whom the 
orthodox reformers wait, or by a limited monarchy, 
tempered perhaps by cautious experiments in Con- 
stitutionalism. The Republic is in itself politically un- 
important, in the sense that it can leave no permanent 
mark upon the social and political structure ; nevertheless, 



the immediate causes of its establishment and certain of its 
direct results are not unworthy of attention. 

In the first place, it is to be observed that, even amongst 
Sun Yat-sen's advanced vanguard of Cantonese reformers, 
there had never been any generally declared intention of 
replacing the JNI anchus by a Republic until some five weeks 
after the outbreak of the successful (but evidently accidental) 
revolutionary movement at Wuchang in October, 1911. In 
the several local risings and abortive rebellions of the Triad 
Society and Kao-lao-hui of the Kuang provinces, beginning 
with the attempt to capture Canton in October, 1895, and 
ending with the assassination of the Tartar General and the 
burning of the Viceroy's yamen in April, 1911, the declared 
aims of the revolutionaries were anti-dynastic, but at no time 
Republican. In 1895, when the " Young China " party was 
definitely organised at Canton, its object was the establish- 
ment of Constitutional Government on lines similar to those 
of K'ang Yu-wei's reform movement of 1898. When, 
coincident with the outbreak of the rebellion at Wuchang, 
the Cantonese revolutionaries became active, there was still 
no question of a Chinese Republic. The movement then 
assumed a purely provincial form, self-government for 
Kuangtung being the order of the day. On October 28th, 
the flag of independence was hoisted over a section of the 
Native City, and the INlanchu garrison came to an amicable 
arrangement with the " reformers," pending consideration of 
the latter's proposals for a mutually satisfactory change in the 
form of government. As the utter helplessness of the 
Manchus and the general disorganisation of the Government 
became more apparent with every success of the Yangtsze 
rebels, the programme of the Radical extremists, supported 
by the Americanised Chinese of the Pacific coast, became 
gradually bolder and more aggressive, but it was only at the 
beginning of November that the idea of a Chinese Republic 
found definite expression, supported by Li Yuan-hung, 
(under compulsion) at Wuchang, and by influential bodies of 



disaffected mandarins at Nanking and Shanghai. Up to this 
time, all the activities of Young China had been steadily 
directed towards acceleration of the Government's pro- 
gramme of Constitutional Government and the convening of 
a National Parliament under the Monarchy. The editorial 
and political notes of the World's Cliinese Students' Joiunial 
contain irrefutable evidence that, until the abdication of the 
Regent (December 6th), the idea of a Republic had not been 
seriously entertained by any section of the reform party. 
Until the very last, indeed, this organ of Young China con- 
tinued to express its loyalty to the Manchus and its warm 
approval of their enlightened Liberal policy. It was only 
when the terrorised Throne, on November 5th, issued a 
humiliating edict recognising the Ko Ming t'ang ' 
Revolutionary Society as a regular political party, entitled to 
a voice in the government of the country, that the extreme 
Radicals realised, and promptly seized, their opportunities of 
attaining supreme command of the situation. Sun Yat-sen's 
party in the south, and General Li Yuan-hung at Wuchang 
perceived that, thanks to the sympathetic attitude of the 
European communities at the Treaty Ports and the chaotic 
demoralisation of the Manchus, only a strong policy was 
needed to carry the day. The JNIanchus were clearly 
doomed, and the position was at the mercy of the first 
bold stroke. 

Up to this point, the National Assembly, recognised by the 
Throne as the elected representatives of the nation, though 
aggressively progressive, had adhered to the Constitutional 
programme. On November 5th, however, simul- 
taneously with the passing of the native cities of 
Shanghai, Suchow, and Hangchow to the revolutionaries, 
the Assembly was denounced by the rebel leaders of several 
provinces for having failed to represent the true wishes of 
the nation. At the same time, a Republican Committee 
was definitely organised at Shanghai under the leadership of 
A¥u Ting-fang, Wen Tsung-yao and Li Ping-shu, well- 



known men whose claims to distinction rested as much on 
their careers as mandarins as on their Liberal views. 

Thereafter, the stars in their courses fought for the 
Republicans — a small body of visionaries and place-seeking 
politicians. The history of their successes, from this time 
forward until the 10th of INIarch, when Yuan Shih-k'ai took 
the oath as Provisional President of the Chinese Republic, 
may be described as a chapter of accidents. At any 
moment in those four months, a little courage in the 
JNIanchu camp, a little luck — above all, a little intelligent 
appreciation of the situation by the British Government — 
might have enabled Yuan to check the tide of disaffection 
and to carry out his statesmanlike policy of a limited 
Monarchy, pledged to gradual and constitutional reforms. 
Had there been a strong Viceroy at Wuchang, had 
T'ang Shao-yi been faithful to his trust as Imperial delegate 
to the revolutionaries ; above all, had Yuan been able to 
obtain from the foreign banks the sinews of war upon which 
the whole situation depended, there can be but little doubt 
that the Republican programme would have received its 
quietus and that the revolutionary leaders would have been 
welcomed into the official fold of a chastened and reformed 
Monarchy. The Republic is the offspring of unexpected 
opportunity, out of sudden chaos ; accidental in its birth, 
and foredoomed to early demise. 


For, whatever may be the shortcomings of Yuan Shih-k'ai 
from the European standard of political morality, there is 
no denying his masterly grasp of the situation from the 
very outset of the revolution. He knew full well the hope- 
lessness of the Republican dream, knew how insignificant 
and ephemeral were the forces behind Sun Yat-sen's gran- 
diloquent boasts. On the 20th of November, at an interview 
given to The Times Correspondent, he stated fully and 



frankly the reasons which led him to advocate retention of 
the dynasty in the person of the child Emperor. For him, 
the institution of a Republic meant " instability of a 
rampant democracy, of dissension and partition." The 
country at large would never support the revolutionaries. 
If they should succeed in overthrowing the dynasty, the 
results would be chaos, amidst which all interests would 
suffer, and for several decades there would be no peace in 
the Empire." He endeavoured to dissuade Dr. Morrison 
from his enthusiastic support of Young China and the 
Republic, observing that the unpopularity of the Manchus 
constituted a sentimental objection which would quickly be 
removed if, as he proposed, " the reigning family were 
deprived of all power to renew the misgovernment of the 
past, retained only as an emblem of Monarchy." He 
appreciated clearly the significance of the dissensions which 
were already beginning to divide the followers of Sun Yat- 
sen at Nanking from the Moderate Reformers of Shanghai 
and Wuchang, and he expressed his opinion that " views of 
the North cannot be reconciled with that of the South. 
Their aims are widely divergent." 

Even after the National xVssembly had been repudiated 
by the Nanking Republicans, Yuan with consummate 
ability continued his fight, almost single-handed, for the 
only practical solution of the problem ; and he would have 
won if T'ang Shao-yi, as Imperial delegate to the revolu- 
tionaries, had not betrayed his confidence, and if he had 
received from the British and American Governments the 
support which he had every right to expect. For the 
solution of the crisis in December depended essentially upon 
his obtaining a foreign loan. Had he obtained it, not only 
would public opinion in the South have given him credit for 
prestige abroad, but many waverers would have immediately 
joined themselves to him as the ultimate dispenser of loaves 
and fishes. Yuan, past-master in the arts and crafts of 
Chinese politics, knew when, on the 27th of October, he 



accepted full powers to deal with the insurrection, that his 
failure or success must depend upon his command of funds. 
Tlie army and the vast majority of officials would always 
follow the command of the purse, and the " stupid people," 
as usual, would follow their leaders. Therefore, before 
emerging from his retirement at the bidding of the Regent, 
Yuan demanded — and received — assurances from the 
National Assembly and from his foreign friends, that the 
sinews of war would be forthcoming. A provisional agree- 
ment for a loan of six million pounds was on the eve of 
signature between the Ministry of Finance and Baron 
Cottu ; the attitude of the " Four-Nations " group, though 
-hampered by conflicting instructions, had been generally 
sympathetic ; there were tentative proposals for loans from 
other quarters, and Yuan had received unofficial, but definite, 
assurances from more than one Legation that the necessary 
financial support would be forthcoming. It is safe to say 
that he would never have accepted the difficult and danger- 
ous task of upholding the Monarchy had he not felt sure of 
obtaining funds. To Great Britain, in particular, he looked 
with complete confidence, believing that, whatever political 
influences might be exerted to withhold the assistance of 
other Powers' official finance, the Government which had 
consistently advocated his recall to power would not leave 
him in the lurch at so desperate a crisis. As events proved, 
however, the Diplomatic Body at Peking displayed an 
almost unanimous consensus of opinion in favour of support- 
ing Yuan Shih-k'ai, and it was chiefly because Great Britain's 
predominating influence was finally exercised in favour of 
impartial neutrality, that his policy of maintaining a limited 
Monarchy collapsed and compelled him, with the best grace 
possible, to accept the Republic. He was defeated, not by 
any statesmanship of the revolutionaries, but by an empty 

It is just possible that, even with sufficient funds, Yuan 
might have failed to stem the tide of disaffection, which had 



swollen rapidly during the fortnight that he had permitted 
to elapse between the Throne's urgent call and his acceptance 
of the Premiership. It is possible that, in the long run, the 
nation's prospects of internal peace are likely to be increased 
by demonstration of the practical results of Young China's 
political extravagances. Out of this evil may spring good, 
if the nation at large has been brought to perceive, even 
dimly, that no healing virtue lies in calling old things by 
new names. Nevertheless, the process of reconstruction has 
been rendered doubly difficult by reason of the chaos and 
destruction that have followed the birth of the Republic, and 
from the standpoint of international politics it must remain 
matter for regret that Great Britain failed to act on the 
initiative proposed by Japan in December, and definitely to 
intervene in support of Yuan's policy. 

Yuan arrived at Peking on October 27th, to find 
that the financial situation had become desperate. With 
difficulty he succeeded in extracting from the Empress 
Dowager's Palace hoard a million taels for the immediate 
payment of loyal troops at Hankow. Baron Cottu's financial 
schemes were rapidly becoming hopeless, owing to the 
French Government's exclusive support of the " Four- 
Nations " group and its refusal to allow his proposed loan a 
quotation on the Bourse. The British Foreign Office, while 
supporting the action of the French Government and 
the official group, had been seriously impressed by the 
vigorous Press campaign instituted by the leaders of the 
Republican party at Shanghai and by their open threats 
that anti-foreign risings and trade boycotts would follow any 
financial help given to the cause of the Monarchy. Any 
defeat of the revolutionary plans," said Dr. W u Ting-fang 
in a telegram published in the European Press, " would be 
placed by the Chinese people at the door of the foreigners 
who aided the other side with money." After a fortnight of 
fruitless effi)rts to raise money from several independent 
financiers, during which time several Legations (notably the 



American) were urging their Governments to come to the 
assistance of the Monarchy, Yuan found himself confronted 
by a stone wall of "benevolent neutrality," which the 
^'ernacular Press unanimously interpreted as implying 
sympathy for the objects of the revolutionaries. 


The motives which influenced Great Britain's decision at 
this juncture will be considered in another chapter. For the 
present, it is sufficient to observe that the policy adopted 
was local and commercial, rather than Imperial and political. 
A crisis which called for thinking in continents, for the 
widest possible outlook, was approached and handled in a 
spirit of nervous vacillation and commercial timidity. Once 
more, hope triumphed over experience ; once more it was 
demonstrated that our Far Eastern policy is never a matter 
of intelligent anticipation " and statecraft, but an erratic line, 
determined from day to day by accident or sentimental 
considerations or the opinions, not always disinterested, of 
influential persons. 

In the present instance, the views which chiefly influenced 
the attitude of the British authorities were, no doubt, the 
fact that the mercantile communities and the Press of the 
1'reaty Ports, as well as the missionaries of the interior, were, 
almost unanimously, warm supporters of Young China and 
the Republic, and loudly protested against the Diplomatic 
Body's proposals to support Yuan Shih-k'ai's limited 
iNlonarchy. This widespread sympathy — which, in certain 
instances, led to open support of the revolutionary cause by 
responsible officials — reproduced a situation very similar, in 
causes and effects, to that which obtained at Shanghai, on a 
smaller scale, at the beginning of the Taiping rebelhon. The 
explanation of this condition of affairs is complex. In the 
flrst place, disgust at the inefficiency and cowardice of the 
Manclius induced in foreigners, as well as in Chinese, a general 



hope that some sort of improvement must result from their 
removal, on the general and common principle that any 
change must be for the better. The average merchant at 
the Treaty Ports, knowing little or nothing of the conditions 
of life in the interior, was disposed to accept the view^s of 
Young China's reformers, many of whom were, to all intents 
and purposes, foreigners. It must also be observed that, as 
far as the average Anglo-Saxon in China is concerned, very 
few, with the exception of officials and missionaries, concern 
themselves closely with the internal politics and party factions 
of the Chinese, except in so far as they directly affect trade. 
The language difficulty, and the unseen social barriers which 
divide East from West, leave the average European of the 
Treaty Ports in easy-going ignorance of the strength and 
direction of the forces at work all around him. He is content, 
as a rule, to trade and to play, and to take the Chinese, their 
rebellions, politics, and permanent unrest for granted. Add 
to this the instinctive sympathy of the Anglo-Saxon for the 
under-dog, and a widespread belief that trade stood to gain 
by the passing of the Manchu rule, and the result will 
fairly represent, I believe, the attitude of the mercantile 
community in October and November, 1911. 


Behind this, perhaps no less important, were certain 
motives of expediency, not to say of self-preservation. It 
must be borne in mind that the public opinion of foreigners in 
China originates almost entirely at the Treaty Ports, and 
that these Settlements are at the same time the breeding 
place and stamping grounds of Young China. Now, amidst 
all the welter and confusion following the outbreak of the 
rebellion. Young China had displayed a somewhat remarkable 
capacity to control the disciplined troops of the insurrectionary 
party, by means of its close affiliation and influence with 
their foreign-drilled officers, and it had, moreover, clearly 



intimated that upon its future goodwill would depend the 
lives and property of Europeans in the interior. The 
protective value of that goodwill, shown to foreigners as the 
price of non-intervention, was undeniable, and it was therefore 
natural enough that the sympathies of Europeans should be 
displayed on the side of the insurrection. Self-preservation 
alone, without looking for interested motives, would commend 
that course to every merchant and missionary at the Treaty 
Ports and in the provinces. But the missionaries had other 
good reasons for sympathising with Young China. In the 
first place, much of the Western learning, which is the hall- 
mark of the revolutionary, had been acquired in Mission 
schools, the American-educated Celestial youth being 
particularly cocksure of his views on the rights of man in 
general and himself in particular. Then, too, the Republican 
party made a forcible appeal to the sympathies of the 
missionary world, in view of the fact that Dr. Sun Yat-sen, 
its first President, professed Christianity — there was no limit 
to the pious hopes that might be, and were, founded on this 
auspicious fact. And yet, for anyone who had a taste for 
history, there was something ominously reminiscent of the 
Taiping Rebellion in this association of Christianity with the 
beginnings of the Repubhcan movement. The picture of 
Dr. Sun Yat-sen, Christian President of the Chinese 
Republic at Nanking, surrounded by Japanese advisers, 
students and generals, irresistibly brought back to mind that 
tinsel court of the Heavenly King at Nanking forty-eight 
years ago. 

The sympathy of Protestant missionaries for the new 
dispensation, general and thorouglily sincere, found its natural 
reflection in the foreign newspapers of Shanghai and the 
Treaty Ports, for the reason that most of their correspondents 
in the interior are necessarily missionaries. Apart from this, 
however, the mercantile community's opinions, as expressed 
in these newspapers, were at first unanimously in favour of 
the party wliicli had so long proclaimed in vain its desire 



for reform ; moreover, there is always something that 
appeals to human nature in the idea of shouting " Le Roi est 
viort, vive le Roi ! " 

As to the manner in which the Republican movement 
was represented in the Press of England and the United 
States, no small factor in determining the Powers' attitude 
of benevolent non-intervention, was the fact that most of 
the views upon which public opinion was at first formed 
were characterised by vague sentiment rather than by any 
well-balanced critical faculty or historical judgment of the 
vital issues involved. Too close a perspective of the men 
and motives of the moment tended to obscure these issues 
and to prevent the philosophical detachment necessary to 
the just perception of cause and effect. But the factor 
which chiefly contributed to the failure of Yuan Shih-k'ai's 
policy was the part played by T'ang Shao-yi, Yuan's most 
brilliant lieutenant and by far the most distinguished of the 
American-educated Cantonese who had risen to high office 
under the great Viceroy. 


Foreigners in China who knew him well, the present 
writer included, had always held him in high esteem, not 
only for his exceptional abilities, but for his courageous dis- 
regard of official conventions, his frankness and apparent 
sincerity. He was clannish after the manner of the Can- 
tonese, and " slim," with the slimness of the Mandarin, in 
negotiations ; but his reasonableness in argument, the 
exceptional knowledge of affairs which he displayed during 
his term of office at the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and 
Communications (1905-7) and the prominent part he took 
in leading the anti-opium legislation in Peking, had earned 
for him the admiration of his countrymen and the respect of 
the Legations. But just as the part played by Yuan 
Shih-k'ai in betraying the Emperor in 1898 has never been 
forgotten or forgiven by the ^Moderate Reformers of that 



period, so the part played by T'ang Shao-yi as Yuan's 
delegate to the Revolutionaries in December, 1912 (not to 
mention his handling of the loan negotiations and his sudden 
exit from the capital while holding office as Premier in 
June), has greatly damaged him in the eyes of Chinese and 
foreigners alike. Where the Chinese, and even his own 
fellow-provincials, are unable to agree on any satisfactory 
explanation of his extraordinary dcgrlngolade, it is difficult 
for a foreigner to account for it ; but putting the most 
charitable construction on his actions, and considering them 
in the light of all the known facts, the conclusion seems at 
least plausible that he was led astray, towards dizzy heights 
of personal ambition, by the fascination of Sun Yat-sen's 
political will-o'-the-wisps, by a desire for revenge upon the 
Manchus who had humiliated and injured him, and by the 
influences brought to bear upon him by the advanced 
Radicals of the T'ung Meng-hui. For T'ang, even at the 
heiglit of his official career under the Monarchy, was always 
a Cantonese first and a Chinese official afterwards. In 
judging of the bad faith, which characterised his Imperial 
mission to the Shanghai and Wuchang revolutionary 
leaders, allowance must be made for the temptations of a 
situation offering almost limitless possibilities to a man of 
unusual intelligence, whose whole life had been spent in an 
atmosphere of treasons, stratagems and spoils. Tried at a 
sudden crisis, his vaulting ambitions seem to have dominated 
his loyalty and his prudence, and in his haste he failed to 
grasp the essentials, and to master the details, of a highly 
complex situation. For all his astuteness, T'ang Shao-yi's 
character was ever impulsive, not to say wayward. As 
Governor of Fengtieii, he displayed unusual energy and 
initiative, combined with the Oriental's fatalism, and a 
curious disregard for the practical side of questions in which 
his sympathies or antipathies were aroused. 

Yuan Shih-k'ai returned to Peking on the 13th of 
November, after his attempt to induce the Revolutionaries 



at Hankow to accept a Constitutional Monarchy. T'ang 
Shao-yi reached the capital a few days later, and despite his 
avowed loyalty to Yuan, was unable to conceal his sympathy 
with the Republicans. In the loan negotiations, to which 
all Yuan's energies were directed, he exhibited from the 
outset his desire, traditional with the JNlinistry of Com- 
munications, to induce cut-throat competition amongst the 
foreign capitalists, disregarding for that purpose actual and 
sentimental obligations. On the 16th of November Yuan 
opened direct negotiations with the Four Nations " group 
of bankers. T'ang advised him against this course, on the 
ground that the financiers represented in reality the political 
ambitions of foreign Powers, and that their conditions, 
involving supervision of expenditure, were incompatible 
with the dignity of a sovereign State. Here, evidently, 
spoke the T'ung-]\Ieng-hui, voicing Kuangtung's aspirations 
towards financial autonomy. On the 20th of November 
T'ang called on Prince Ch'ing, President of the Privy 
Council, and advised him that the only way to avoid further 
bloodshed was for the Government to consent to abide by 
the results of a national plebiscite on the question of Con- 
stitutional Monarchy or Republic. Here again spoke the 
T'ung Meng-hui, for none knew better than T'ang that a 
plebiscite in China is no more possible than a general election. 
Prince Ch'ing refused to entertain the suggestion, and T'ang 
retired to his private house at Tientsin. On the 26th of 
November, the Imperialist success at Wuchang infused new 
hope into the Monarchist cause. The revolutionary Com- 
mander, Li Yuan-hung, expressed his readiness to accept the 
terms originally proposed by Yuan, and it was hoped that, 
by his mfluence, the Southern provinces would agree to a 
limited Monarchy, on the understanding that all ^lanchu 
privileges would be abolished. It was at this critical juncture 
that Yuan decided to send T'ang Shao-yi to the Yangtsze 
to negotiate, as Imperial delegate, for a settlement on these 
lines, and it is at this point that doubts have arisen in certain 

161 M 


quarters as to the sincerity of Yuan's own policy ; for he had 
certainly had dealings with Sun Yat-sen's party, and he 
must have been aware of T'ang Shao-yi's Republican 

On November 30th, an armistice having been arranged 
at AVuchang by the good offices of His Majesty's 
Consul General Mr. GofFe, Li Yuan-hung held a con- 
ference with the assembled delegates of eight provinces. 
T'ang Shao-yi left Peking for Hankow on the 8th of 
December. The Revolutionary party at Nanking had 
expressed the significant wish that he should go alone ; also 
that the Conference should be held not at Hankow, but at 
Shanghai. (Li Yuan-hung's intimate personal relations 
with Yuan and his recently avowed policy of conciliation 
sufficiently explained this attitude). Nevertheless, Yuan 
insisted on T'ang's being accompanied by several Govern- 
ment and provincial delegates. To a foreigner who came to 
the railway station to wish him a successful journey, Tang's 
last word was " The only solution will be a Republic." 

The results of negotiations opened under such auspices 
were a foregone conclusion. On the 11th of December, the 
Revolutionary leaders at Shanghai declined to recognise Li 
Yuan-hung as competent to negotiate on their behalf, and it 
was therefore decided that T'ang Shao-yi should proceed to 
Shanghai and hold the Conference there. As an immediate 
result of this moral victory, and of T'ang Shao-yi's obviously 
sympathetic attitude, the tone of the native Press, which, a 
week before, had been conciliatory and disposed to com- 
promise on the question of the Monarchy, became boldly 
Republican, whilst the leaders of the party at Shanghai sent 
'telegrams to Yuan urging him to accept the Presidency. 
Meanwhile, on the 6th, the Regent had resigned. 


So soon as it came to be understood that negotiations 
with the South were about to be held in a reasonable spirit 



of conciliation, Sir John Jordan, at Peking, on the 6th of 
December, informed the agent of the British financial group 
that he considered the moment opportune to advise the 
British Government to support a loan to Yuan. Following 
upon this intimation, the Peking representatives of the 
Four Nations " group held a meeting and arranged to 
telegraph to headquarters, urging that the matter be quickly- 
dealt with. But the situation had reached a stage at which 
the rapidity of each day's changes precluded all hope of 
successful negotiations for a Government loan. Long before 
the Peking bankers could receive definite instructions as the 
result of consultation between the groups, the British 
Minister's hopes of a compromise between the Republicans 
and Yuan had dropped to zero. There is reason to believe 
that, at this juncture, as indeed throughout the revolu- 
tionary crisis, his attitude and actions were considerably 
affected by those of The Times correspondent, whose 
repeated declarations of sympathy for Young China and the 
Republic, reproduced daily throughout the Press of the 
world, undoubtedly exercised a very powerful influence, not 
only on the judgment of the Foreign Office and the 
Legation, but upon the attitude of the Republican leaders 
themselves. The Shanghai Chamber of Commerce and 
other influential bodies were moreover continuing to oppose 
every suggestion of supporting the Government. Sir John 
Jordan, divided, therefore, between his own judgment of a 
situation which he had correctly gauged, the opinions of his 
nationals, and the instructions of the Foreign Office (chiefly 
concerned for the protection of traders' and bondholders' 
immediate interests), proceeded to discuss the matter with 
his diplomatic colleagues of the " Four Nations." At this 
point, the international aspect of the proposed loan asserted 
itself acutely, as a result of which the Russian and Japanese 
Ministers took part in these diplomatic pourparlers. The 
question of the loan to Yuan as a matter of urgency was 
speedily lost in mazes of diplomatic circumlocution and 

163 M 2 


futilities, and the net outcome of many good intentions was 
a Joint Note, transmitted through the Consuls -General at 
Shanghai to the Peace Commissioners on the 20th of 
December, in which both sides were urged to come speedily 
to a reasonable understanding. This Joint Note, represent- 
ing the collective intelligence and initiative of the six Great 
Powers, was intended to combine the expression of benevo- 
lent neutrality with an intimation that foreign interests were 
closely involved in the dispute.^ Its immediate effect, 
however, was to add prestige to the Revolutionary cause, for 
the action of the Powers was naturally construed by its 
eaders and by the Press as an official recognition of the 
Republicans as belligerents. Two days later The Times 
correspondent, then on a visit to the Treaty Ports of the 
Yangtsze, reported that the action of the Powers had greatly 
strengthened the Revolutionary movement. The only 
thing which, up till this moment, had prevented the 
complete triumph of the Republicans and the collapse of 
Yuan's last resistance, was the knowledge that Japan had 
for some time been urging her ally to support the Prime 
INlinister in defence of the monarchical principle. The 
Japanese Government's adherence to the Joint Note was 
accepted as proof that this policy had been definitely 
abandoned. "Benevolent neutrality" had played its part, 
and T'ang Shao-yi's arrival on the scene, as Imperial 
delegate, was the end of the Imperialist cause. 


The Peace Commissioners met at Shanghai on Monday, 
the 18th of December, Wu Ting-fang acting as chief repre- 

1 " Maintaininjr the attitude of absolute neutrality which they had hitherto 
ado))ted," these Powers "deemed it their duty unofficially to call the atten- 
tion of the two delet^ates to the need of arriving, as soon as possible^ at an 
uiiderstandinor calculated to put an end to the present conflict, being 
persuaded that tliis view was in accordance with the wishes of the two 
parties concerned." To call the attention of two parties to the necessity of 
acting upon their own wishes seems, undiplomatically speaking, a futile 
proceeding at best. 




sentative of the Republican Provisional Government and 
T'ang Shao-yi as Imperial delegate. Prior to T'ang's 
arrival at Shanghai and to the presentation of the Six 
Powers' Joint Note, the issues remained uncertain, the 
armistice, which left each side's forces in occupation of its 
own ground, having been extended to permit of negotia- 
tions, and General Li's intentions, as regards acceptance of 
Yuan's proposals, remaining a matter of uncertainty. Had 
the Conference been held at Wuchang, as Yuan Shih-k'ai 
and General Li desired, it might well have ended in accord- 
ance with the Prime Minister's wishes. Up to the very last 
(until the 16th of December, in fact) he continued to press 
Wu Ting-fang and the Shanghai and Nanking delegates to 
come to Wuchang, but in vain. There can be no doubt, 
in the light of subsequent events, that the Imperial delegate 
supported the demands of Wu Ting-fang that the Conference 
should be held at Shanghai. General Li is a Hupeh man. 
Dr. AVu Ting-fang and Wen Tsung-yao, the Shanghai 
leaders, are Cantonese. It was just as well, in establishing 
a Republic, to keep the direction of affairs in the right 

T'ang Shao-yi, with characteristic frankness, made no 
secret of his Republican sympathies. On the 22nd of 
December, while a semblance of negotiations was being 
kept up, for face-pidgin " purposes, between parties whose 
purposes had been identical from the outset of the Conference, 
The Times correspondent, telegraphing from Shanghai, 
observed that " no surprise is felt here, nor among his 
friends, that T'ang Shao-yi should have so early declared 
Republican sympathies. Ardently desiring to prevent 
further bloodshed, and convinced that the majority of the 
people will accept no compromise involving the retention of 
a puppet Emperor of a despised and distrusted dynasty, he 
has taken the only possible course and given his adhesion to 
a Republic." It is signiticant of Chinese political morality 
that the vernacular Press, as a whole, should see nothing 



irregular in T'ang Shao-yi's acceptance of the duties of 
Imperial delegate under such conditions. 



The effect of the situation at Shanghai reacted imme- 
diately upon the North. The tone of the Press became 
violently revolutionary, and papers that had hitherto 
supported the INIonarchy changed front and joined the 
^v inning side. Yuan Shih-k'ai, who still adhered to the 
monarchical idea, was threatened with assassination. Mean- 
while the farcical negotiations continued, the Republicans' 
demands being obviously stiffened by the information and 
advice tendered by the Imperial delegate. There is 
evidence to show that, until T'ang Shao-yi's arrival on the 
scene, a number of the Shanghai revolutionaries, including 
Wu Ting-fang, influenced by the recent success of the 
Imperialists at Wuchang, were ready to discuss a settle- 
ment on the lines proposed by Yuan Shih-k'ai. T'ang 
Shao-yi was openly in favour of the Republican programme 
— at the first meeting of the Conference he " concurred in 
the views expressed by Wu Ting-fang," which he subse- 
quently embodied and supported in a Memorial to the 
Throne, that the question of " Monarchy or Republic " 
should be referred to a National Convention, composed of 
delegates from the provinces and dependencies. At the 
same time, he telegraphed to the British and American 
Ministers and to the representatives of the *' Four Nations " 
group, strongly urging that no loan should be made to 
Yuan Shih-k'ai, on the ground that an anti-foreign outbreak 
would inevitably result. The Shanghai Chamber of Com- 
merce supported these views, and several influential 
Europeans assisted in bringing pressure to bear at Peking. 
Yuan Shih-k'ai, bownng to the inevitable, agreed, and on 
December the 28th an edict was issued in reply to T'ang 


Rebel Maxim Gun ix Actiox, Xaxkixg. 

Photc, L\i:nt.'>a Craft Co. 

Takixc; a Prisoner to Executiox, Tiextsix, March 1912. 


Shao-yi's Memorial, intimating the Throne's wilHngness to 
abide by the decision of the proposed Convention. This 
was the death warrant of the Monarchy. The Repubhc be- 
came henceforth to all intents and purposes an accomplished 
fact, and its final triumph was due to the man who had 
undertaken to uphold the Imperial cause. 

At the end of December T'ang Shao-yi, evidently bent 
on consolidating the Republican position, agreed with Wu 
Ting-fang that, pending the National Convention's decision 
as to the future form of Government, " the Manchu 
Government should not accept, or attempt to obtain, foreign 
loans." There was clearly no immediate prospect of a 
Convention ; this condition therefore condemned the 
Central Government to insolvency for an indefinite period, 
whilst opening up visions, grateful and comforting to 
Shanghai and Nanking, of provincial loans. This was bad 
enough ; but he further pledged the Government to the 
evacuation by the Imperialist forces of Hankow and 
Hanyang, the scene of their recent successes. This, in view 
of the specific terms of the armistice, was nothing short of 
treachery, committed with the obvious intention of taking 
all spirit out of the loyalist troops. This graceful concession 
produced an indignant protest from the commanders of the 
Imperial forces in the North and from the few Manchus 
whose attention was not concentrated on their personal 
fortunes. T'ang, severely attacked, tendered his resignation, 
which was accepted by the Throne and by Yuan Shih-k'ai 
on the 2nd of January. His work was done. He could 
afford to rest on his laurels and await the reward of his 
services to the Republic. 

Meanwhile, Sun Yat-sen, generally acclaimed as the 
originator of the Republican programme, had arrived in 
Shanghai on Christmas Eve, and had been elected Provisional 
President of the Republic by the delegates assembled at 
Nanking. These and their friends at Shanghai desired that 
the Convention should be held at once, and at Shanghai. 



Yuan, fighting in his last ditch, objected to the proposal 
on the ground that there could be no independent voting in 
so prejudiced an atmosphere. It soon became evident, 
however, that the whole idea of the Convention was an 
extremely skilful move on the part of T'ang Shao-yi and the 
Shanghai Republicans, serving to deprive the Central 
Government of all hope of a foreign loan and making it 
lose face " with the loyalist troops. As practical politics, 
there could be no more hope of the Convention's assembling 
than there is in England of the Liberal party's early fulfil- 
ment of its undertaking to re-constitute the House of Lords. 
The Throne's acceptance of the proposal for a Convention 
was, as I have said, its death warrant. Within a week of 
the issue of the Edict, the Convention had been dropped by 
mutual consent ; and from all sides came loud demands for 
the abdication of the Throne. Again the usual machinery 
came into play. Again the sympathies of European resi- 
dents were involved ; again the Chinese Chamber of 
Commerce addressed telegrams to all concerned. Wu 
Ting-fang, in daily telegrams to Yuan, asserted the un- 
shakable decision of the nation " to accept no form of 
government other than a Republic based upon the will of 
the people," his efforts being ably seconded by a local Press 
that was rapidly learning the arts and crafts of Republicanism. 
On January 10th The Times correspondent was able to 
telegraph that an early abdication was certain ; the National 
Convention had vanished into thin air. The final denoue- 
ment was hastened by the attempted assassination of Yuan 
on the IGth of January, which spread terror amongst 
Manchus and Chinese alike. A last remnant of courage 
was infused into the Manchu Princes and the Court, and a 
last flicker of resistance, by the counsels of Tieh- Liang, the ex- 
Boxer and notoriously corrupt and braggart Tartar- General 
of Nanking, who made good his return to Peking in the 
middle of January. This old enemy of Yuan Shih-k'ai 
enjoyed considerable prestige amongst his kinsmen ; he it 



was who had secured Yuan's downfall after the death of 
Tzl'i Hsi in 1908. He was now able to persuade the Court 
that Yuan had played them false, and to induce the 
Empress Dowager to declare by Edict her intention of 
abdicating only if the decision of the National Convention 
so decided. The decision in itself was perfectly legitimate. 
The National Convention solution had been formally 
accepted by every party in the State ; the proposal for 
immediate abdication was the result of the agitation of 
hungry place-seekers and journalists, playing upon the 
Manchu Princes' fear of losing their proffered pensions. 
But the last stand was short-lived. Two more bomb out- 
rages (one of which caused the death of the Manchu 
General Liang Pi), occurred on the 26th and 27th of 
January. On the 25th The Times correspondent reported 
that " these last two outrages are expected to have a 
powerful effect in inducing the Princes to reconsider their 
opposition to an early abdication, and further pressure is 
being brought to bear." On the 31st the Throne had 
realised that " it could not continue to defy the warnings of 
the people." Dynamite had replaced the National Conven- 
tion as a solution of the problem, and the triumph of the 
Republic was assured. In a land where money is the be-all 
and end-all of politics, a dynasty had gone down for lack 
of funds. The Manchus' abdication was completed, with 
many and curious formalities, on the 12th of February, 
and favourable conditions as to pensions, dignities and titles 
were guaranteed to the Imperial House in the name of the 

THE manchus' abdication. 

The Abdication Edicts, models of propriety, ingenuity 
and literary skill, were drafted for Yuan Shih-k'ai by one of 
the ablest and staunchest of his Cantonese lieutenants, Liang 
Shih-yi — the man who, above all others, had strained every 



nerve to secure funds for the Imperialist cause. In the first 
of these decrees, the Empress Dowager was made to say : 

To-day the people of the whole Empire have their minds 
bent upon a Republic, the Southern provinces having initiated 
the movement, and the Northern Generals having sub- 
sequently supported it. The will of Providence is clear and 
the people's wishes are plain. How could I, for the sake of 
the glory and the honour of one family, oppose the wishes 
of teeming millions ? Wherefore I, with the Emperor, decide 
that the form of government in China shall be a constitu- 
tional Republic, to comfort the longing of all within the 
Empire and to act in harmony with the ancient sages, who 
regarded the throne as a public heritage." 

Yuan had fought a good fight, not for the Manchus, whose 
powers and privileges he himself had unhesitatingly swept 
away, but for the maintenance of the Throne as the only 
rallying point in a country threatened with chaotic dis- 
organisation. Abandoned by the foreign Powers which had 
hailed him as the saviour of the Empire, distrusted by the 
Southern Republicans, feared by the unruly elements of 
Young China and hated by the old-gang Manchus, he had 
done his duty, and he had failed. In November he had de- 
clared that to be a party to the establishment of a Republican 
Government " would brand him as a liar before all the 
world." It is significant of the deep distrust that underlies 
the relations of all classes of Chinese officials, that it should 
have been frequently asserted and believed in China that 
Yuan was privy to T'ang Shao-yi's defection from the 
Imperialist cause, and that his own acceptance of the Premier- 
ship at the hands of the Regent was part of a deep laid plot 
for the betrayal of the Manchus. It is impossible to enter- 
tain the suggestion of such treachery : on the contrary, every- 
thing in his attitude and actions confirms the opinion that 
throughout the crisis he pursued a consistent and statesman- 
Hke course, sincerely anxious for the ultimate good of his 
country. In consenting to take service under the Republic, 



he could not hope to escape the charge of inconsistency : but 
here again, everything points to patriotism, rather than to 
the gratification of personal ambitions. In professing, as he 
has since done, sincere belief in the Republican form of 
government, he has undoubtedly followed the traditional 
lines of Oriental statecraft, instinct with opportunism and 
guile. But in judging of his action in this matter, it must be 
borne in mine that Yuan is no Western-learning official. 
He ignores the power of the Press, which Western politicians 
have ever before their eyes ; he is obviously unconscious of the 
fact that the things which he may have said or done a year 
ago are recorded in the files of newspapers and in the minds 
of men in all parts of the world. As President of the 
Republic, Yuan's position is one of difficulty and danger 
gi-eater even than under the Monarchy ; but his position at 
the head of the State is rightly regarded, by the great 
majority of observers, as affording the best, if not the last, 
hope of averting from the country long years of strife. 


Precisely two days had elapsed after the abdication of the 
Manchus, when the first rift showed itself in the Republican 
lute and the struggle for power and place between the " old " 
and the new " Republicans began. On the 14th of 
February, Yuan received from Sun Yat-sen an invitation to 
proceed forthwith to Nanking, there to receive his nomina- 
tion as President of the Republic from the Advisory 
Council of the Nanking Assembly, on the ground that the 
organisation of the Republican form of government could 
not be delegated from the Manchu Emperor." Yuan, much 
against the grain, was constrained to accept the invitation. 
With the subsequent history of the first days of the Republic, 
we are not at present concerned ; but it may be noted, as 
typical of the state of politics in China, that the mutiny of 
the troops at Peking, Avhich eventually prevented the 



President from going south, has been freely attributed by 
his opponents to his own instigation. 


Before examining the possibihties of permanence in the 
Repubhcan form of government in China, and the chances 
of a monarchical restoration, it may be well to consider 
the opinions of a great man qualified by his position to 
approach the subject dispassionately and with the wisdom 
born of a wide outlook on human affairs. I refer to the late 
Prince Ito, a statesman who combined philosophical 
judgment with patriotism to a very rare degree, and whose 
views therefore deserve the close attention of those who 
would form a correct idea of political conditions in the Far 
East. Sir Valentine Chirol, in the Quart ei^ly Review for 
April, 1912, has reproduced the substance of a conversation 
held with Prince Ito at Tokyo in the spring of 1909, on 
which occasion the Japanese statesman unhesitatingly 
expressed his opinions concerning the destructive and dis- 
ruptive tendencies of Young China, and the reasons which 
make it impossible to hope that, following their lead, the 
Chinese people can ever hope to emulate the political and 
material successes of Japan. The interest of this article is 
increased by the fact that, since the outbreak of the 
Revolutionary movement, the policy of the Japanese 
Government has been most evidently based, and its move- 
ments "pre-arranged," on Prince Ito's conception of the 
situation. It would have been well for China, and for 
British interests, had British policy been framed and guided 
by political insight so discriminating and prescience so keen. 

Prince Ito concurred in the general opinion that the 
Manchus had become incapable of performing their proper 
function as rulers, and considered that England had 
blundered politically in assisting them to suppress the 
Taiping RebeUion. 



" By preventing the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty, 
Gordon and his * ever- victorious army ' arrested a normal and 
healthy process of nature. Nothing that the Manchus ^ have 
done since then affords the slightest evidence that they 
deserved to be saved ; and when they fall, as fall they must 
and will before very long, the upheaval will be all the more 
violent and all the more protracted from having been so long 

Discussing the manner in which Japan worked out her 
own salvation, Prince Ito concluded : 

Thus, owing to a variety of circumstances, that great 
crisis in our history produced not only a few individual 
leaders, but a whole class of society in many ways justified 
and ready to take the lead in a great national movement. 
JNloreover, there was already in the air a great national idea, 
around which the new, and, if you like, revolutionary, 
aspirations of the country were able to crystallise in such a 
shape as to secure, together with all the benefits of a real 
revolution, the unbroken continuity of ancient traditions. 
Instead of destroying the Throne, we were able to claim that 
our object was to restore the Imperial autliority, too long 
eclipsed by the usurping ambitions of the Tokugaw^a 
rulers ..." 

And comparing Japan s unthreatened sovereignty with 
China's state, he observed : 

" China's territorial integrity and independence, which she 
has no material means of defending for herself, are protected, 
in so far as they are protected at all, far more by international 
jealousies than by the Treaties which are supposed to 
guarantee them. Yet, though China is, and in fact always 
has been, at the mercy of the foreigner, the Chinese have, until 
quite recently, shown themselves absolutely impervious to all 
Western influences except that of superior force. Not only 
the ruling class, but practically all classes in China have 

^ Prince Ito considered that the part played by the Emperor Kuang Hsii 
in the Reform Movement of 1898 was a subordinate one, dictated by K'ang 
Yu-wei and his friends. 



wi-apped themselves stolidly in their belief in the inherent 
superiority of their own civilisation . . . 

AVithin the last few years, no doubt, there has been a 
considerable and a very rapid change, but even that change 
is not so much a spontaneous growth from within as the 
result of the importation of Western ideas from without, by 
young Chinese who have been educated abroad and who have 
returned to their own country not only imbued with Western 
conceptions, but so largely estranged from all the old Chinese 
conceptions that they have almost as much lost contact 
with the Chinese point of view as if they were themselves 
foreigners by birth. Hence the crudity and violence of 
the doctrines which they teach." 

Finally, after observing that there exists no great national 
ideal that can afford a rallying cry to unite all the different 
forces w^hich are making for change in China, he concluded : 

"So far, also, it must be regretfully confessed that there is 
in China no class of the community which seems competent 
to take the lead in a great national movement. The official 
class, in spite of some brilliant exceptions, is as a whole 
notoriously incompetent and corrupt. The merchants may 
be taken as the nearest equivalent to a middle class in China, 
and in business they have acquired a considerable reputation 
for honesty and intelligence, but they have always held aloof 
from public affairs, which, with the Chinese talent for 
specialisation, they regard as entirely outside their own sphere 
of activity. The great mass of the population is probably 
even more inert in China than in most Oriental countries. 
It is thrifty and extremely industrious, and has been 
accustomed for so many centuries to be treated by its rulers 
as the " stupid people " that it may be held now almost to 
justify its nickname by its supreme indifference to everything 
beyond its own narrow horizon of daily toil. The young 
students who have returned from abroad form a very vocal 
and not unimportant body of agitators, many of whom are 
animated with excellent intentions, but they have hardly any 
roots in the country, and they can hardly be said to form a 
class capable of directing and controlling any practical course 
of action. As for the Chinese army, it would seem extremely 



improbable that in a country such as China, so completely 
bereft of all military traditions, an army could be organised 
that would possess both the efficiency and the discipline 
required by such an emergency." 


Sir Robert Hart, in his apologia for the Manchu dynasty,^ 
written after the Boxer debacle, saw no Republican visions. 

There would seem " he said, " to be a choice between three 
courses, partition, change of dynasty, and patching up the 
Manchu rule." He knew the Chinese to be " a very practical 
person, accepting the rule of those who have the power to 
rule and the good sense to rule justly, with greater 
equanimity than others," but he deprecated partition 
because of " Chinese feeling and Chinese aspiration." 
He held that a new dynasty must plunge the country into 
years of anarchy, because there is no man of mark all 
China would accept." Therefore, like Yuan Shih-k'ai a 
decade later, he was for bearing the evils that he knew. 
Count Okuma, a statesman whose views carry great weight 
with the constitutional reformers of Liang Ch'i-ch'ao's 
following, expressed his opinion, at the beginning of the 
crisis, in complete concurrence with Yuan's limited Monarchy 
programme, his line of argument being similar to that used 
by Burke when he maintained " that a Monarchy is preferable 
to a Republic because it is easier to engraft the advantages 
of a Republic on a Monarchy, than to engraft the advantages 
of a Monarchy on a Republic." Finally, in the opinion of 
constitutional Young China, the steadily growing party of 
Moderate Reformers under K'ang Yu-wei and Liang 
Ch'i-ch'ao, a Republic is utterly incompatible with the 
traditions of China. At an interview with an American 
Press agent in Kobe, Liang Ch'i-ch'ao expressed himself to 
the effect that " the end of the present disturbances must be 

1 These from the Land of Sijiiin. Chapman and Hallj 1901. 



a Constitutional Monarchy of the most advanced type," to 
which, if we may beheve the reporter, he added an oracular 
statement, of the kind dear to Oriental minds, " that this 
will be effected by one man, who is not at present on the 


It is unnecessary to labour the conclusions to be 
drawn from these opinions, for within six months of the 
abdication of the helpless Manchus, the country has had 
ample opportunity to judge for itself how far Young China 
is likely to make good the solemn pledges so confidently 
given by Sun Yat-sen (as Provincial President) in his 
Manifesto of the 5th of January, 1912. Six months have 
passed since the self-constituted representative of the 
nation undertook " to elevate our people, secure them in 
peace and legislate for their prosperity, to remodel our laws, 
reform our finances, abolish trade restrictions and ensure 
religious toleration." Six months — and to-day pessimistic 
doubts prevail amongst the very men who then pro- 
claimed the dawn of a joyful awakening. The army, 
uncontrolled and uncontrollable, has already repudiated 
Young China ; the horde of hungry politicians remains 
absorbed in futile arguments and sordid intrigues ; the 
Government is without prestige, policy, or power ; three 
parties in the State, alike forgetful of their country's 
urgent needs, struggle for place and pelf ; the Cabinet is 
distracted by the advice of amateur politicians at the 
capital and the threats and protests of the provinces. By 
the beginning of July, the country's instinctive craving for 
authoritative rulership had begun to assert itself. The 
INIihtary and Police Societies of the provinces had warned 
the tlu'ee parties of the National Assembly to cease from 
tliwarting the Government by their senseless and selfish 
factions," and had urged the President to establish a military 


Imperial Foreign-drilled Officers. 


Dictatorship. Young China, the only articulate force that 
emerged with definite aims from the first confusion of the 
Wuchang plot, had already become completely disorganised 
(as Yuan Shih-k'ai had foreseen) and in its place a military 
league, similar to that which controls the political destinies 
of Turkey, had been evolved as a natural consequence of the 
army's rapidly developed consciousness of its powers. From 
a Military Dictatorship to restoration of the Monarchical 
form of government the road is easy. 

The masses of China are slow- thinking and slow-moving. 
Politically uneducated, not to say unconscious, they remain 
generally indifferent to the proceedings of mandarins, ancient 
or modern, so long as those proceedings touch not too closely 
the things that matter in their narrow world. Of the Republic, 
and its gospel of liberty and equality, they have no doubt 
heard vague rumours, just as they have heard of the war 
between Russia and Japan. Of the self-government 
regulations" they may also have heard, and classed them 
with the reform of the currency, and the abolition of lekin, 
as "wind in the ear," harmless lucubrations, invented for 
the pacification of restless foreigners. Means of com- 
munication between the lower strata of the toiling population 
are few ; new ideas and the assimilation of new facts involve 
long mental processes. It may safely be asserted that the 
great majority of the nation have not the faintest conception 
of the meaning of the word Republic ; and more important 
still, they have not yet realised the effect upon their own 
lives of the removal of the Son of Heaven from the scheme 
of things Celestial. An agricultural people, born and bred 
in ancestor worship and patriarchal Theism, regarding the 
Emperor as the Heaven-appointed centre and crown of their 
family system ; looking to him, at seed time and harvest, in 
days of flood and famine, as the invoker of good, and the 
averter of evil, destinies — it is impossible to believe that 
such a people can lightly lay aside their deep-rooted 
traditions, their immemorial reverences and beliefs, for any 

177 N 


phantasy or trick of politicians. The thing is inconceiv- 
able — a century of educative processes must elapse before 
the dreams of Sun Yat-sen can verge on practical politics. 
And in the meanwhile, because the character of the nation's 
aggregate is determined by the character of the units, China, 
if left to control her own destinies, will assuredly revert to 
a form of Government which leaves the Son of Heaven upon 
the Dragon Throne. 


Looking closely at the Edicts of abdication, drafted by 
one of the ablest pens and clearest brains in China, one 
seems to perceive a subtle suggestion of this aspect of the 
matter, and even a cautious provision for the pendulum's 
inevitable swing. It is a fundamental principle in Oriental 
statecraft that every political arrangement should provide 
for contingencies of reaction and revision. The Chinese are 
peculiarly averse to anything like finality, either in politics 
or business ; instinctively they recognise the virtue that lies 
in loopholes for second thoughts. This characteristic of the 
race is clearly reflected in the Manchus' abdication Edicts. 
In the first place, they avoid the use of the Chinese term 
which conveys directly the idea of complete abdication. 
They record the fact that the dynasty has ceased to exercise 
its ruling powers, but the Imperial title remains, whilst the 
rank and dignities of the Iron-capped Princes and other 
hereditary nobles are left unimpaired. Finally, in the 
matter of pensions and right of residence, the terms con- 
ceded by the Republicans to the Court are liberal. As an 
autocratic ruler, the Emperor has retired gracefully, and not 
without honour, from the scene ; as the head of the ex- 
Imperial Clan he continues to exist, and that in close 
proximity to the Forbidden City ; continuing, within the 
limits thus prescribed, the ceremonial and rehgious functions 
of liis House. In the " profound seclusion " of the Summer 



Palace, the Manchu Emperor will continue, retaining his 
Household staff and elaborate Court etiquette, and enjoying 
" due courtesy — not fealty and obedience " — from his former 
subjects. In a country where political intrigue is rife, where 
the loyalty of troops is bought and sold, it is evident that a 
Court, reputed to possess vast sums in hoarded treasure, may 
well continue to play an important part in politics. 

A counter-revolution in favour of the Manchus would be 
a national calamity, irrespective of its immediate results ; 
but the inevitable disorganisation of the Republican regime 
brings it well within the bounds of possibility. There are 
still formidable military forces partial or faithful to the 
Manchu cause ; Chang Hslin, the defender of Nanking, who 
dominates the situation in Shantung ; Chao Erh-hsiin, 
Viceroy of Manchuria, apparently irreconcilable, and Sheng 
Yiin, with his bandit army on the borders of Kansuh. If 
Yuan can control the turbulent factions at Peking and 
conciliate the inveterate spirit of locality in the provinces, 
above all, if he can centralise and regulate the Republic's 
finances, these semi-rebel armies will no doubt give him 
their adhesion (on terms) ; but if the present chaotic 
conditions continue, a reactionary movement in support of 
the Manchus is practically certain to occur, in which case 
these forces would have to be reckoned with. 

Setting aside the Manchus, however, as alien rulers who 
have finally forfeited the respect of the masses, the eventual 
restoration of the Monarchical form of government would 
appear to be morally certain, for the reasons above stated, 
as the only means by which to avert the secession of those 
provinces in which autonomous tendencies have become 
most marked since the Revolution. Whether in the hands 
of Yuan Shi-k'ai, or of the lineal descendant of the Ming 
dynasty, the Imperial person and his authority are essential 
to the existence of China as a united nation. The ante- 
cedents and personal qualifications of the sovereign are 
matters of secondary importance ; but maintenance of the 

179 N 2 


IVlonarchical principle is inseparable from the Confucian 
tradition. The Throne is the natural centre of the Chinese 
political and social system. 


Amongst the Constitutional Monarchist reforms, the 
candidature of the Marquis Chu, lineal descendant of the 
founder of the INIing dynasty, has been widely supported, 
especially amongst the literati of Anhui and Hupeh. He is 
forty-five years of age and reported to be intelligent and of 
good education. It may safely be predicted, however, that if 
Yuan Shih-k'ai should elect to become the founder of a 
dynasty, his relations with the army leaders and his personal 
prestige would effectively extinguish the chances of a Ming 
restoration. In this connection, it is worthy of note that the 
great families of China, the " big names " oP Tzu Hsi's reign, 
the Li's, the Tsung's and the Tso's, are all completely 
dissociated from the Republican programm^e and would 
undoubtedly be a powerful factor (though impoverished by 
the disorders of the rebellion) in any movement for the re- 
establishment of a Monarchy. 

But in the light of history, and in view of the manifold 
dangers which threaten the ancient Chinese State, this much 
appears to be certain : that either the Man of Destiny will 
emerge, to enforce salutary discipline on the warring factions 
political, or the country will fall, exhausted, a prey to its 
stronger neighbours. The latter fate is, indeed, at this 
moment overtaking the northern Dependencies, and who 
shall say at what point " geographical gravitation " will 
cease ? 

The Republic, in any case, seems to be, humanly speaking, 
impossible. Looking back to the accident of its birth and of 
its growth, the wonder is that it should ever have come to 




I have described the causes of Yuan's failure to maintain a 
limited Monarchy, and explained T'ang Shao-yi's part in 
establishing the Republic. There remains, however, to be 
explained the remarkable fact that, within a month of the 
Wuchang revolt. Young China at Shanghai and Nanking 
should have evolved something like a Republican organisation, 
sufficient at all events to enable them to elect Sun Yat-sen 
President upon his arrival in China, and to present to the 
world some outward and visible signs of authority. It was 
this rapid concentration of forces, with symptoms of organised 
leadership and policy, that led many observers to exaggerate 
the inherent cohesion of the movement, and to regard the 
Revolution as a marvellous triumph of patient, farseeing 
organisation. In other words, they attributed to Young 
China as a whole qualities which distinguished only a few of 
the Cantonese vanguard. For it must be borne in mind 
that all the initiative and cohesion which the movement 
possessed in the conspiracy stage was Cantonese. This fact 
explains the enthusiasm and apparent unanimity of the first 
weeks of the Provisional Government at Nanking ; it explains 
also the rapid growth of feuds and factions in the National 
Assembly as soon as the Republican idea began to assume a 
national aspect. For, as has been explained in an earlier 
chapter, the inhabitants of the Kuang provinces are very 
different, socially and politically, from the rest of China. The 
slower- witted natives of Hunan, Kiangsu and Anhui consider 
themselves, nevertheless, the fine flower of Chinese culture 
and civilisation, and their provinces the real centre of the 
universe ; so that, when it came to a division of the spoils, 
nothing but a firm hand of authority could have preserved 
the peace. In Peking, as the shop signs testify, Canton is 
regarded as much the same as a foreign country. Yuan 
Shih-k'ai's troops, the men who began their looting at the 



quarters of the Nanking delegates, were only voicing the 
common sentiment of the North when they mocked these 
frocked-coated youths of the South as monkeys — neither 
Chinese nor foreign. 


The political activity and organisation of the Cantonese 
Radicals constituted the principal cause of Young China's 
sudden adoption of the Republican programme ; the 
traditional centre of unrest and revolt gave definitely 
democratic aspirations to a movement which otherwise would 
have remained anti-dynastic and anarchical. And the 
creators of this organisation at headquarters, the men who 
had the ability and influence to establish the Provisional 
Republican Government at Shanghai and Nanking, were 
undoubtedly the Cantonese secret societies, which have 
generally recognised Sun Yat-sen as their leader. At the 
outset, the Republican programme announced by Wu Ting- 
fang and Wen Tsung-yao at Shanghai was clearly identified 
with Cantonese initiative. The revolutionaries' war chest 
was supplied almost entirely from the funds subscribed by 
Cantonese, a fact which enabled them, for some time, to 
dictate the policy of the Ko Ming t'ang (Revolutionary 
Society) in the Central provinces and to take from General 
Li Yuan-hung the direct control of negotiations with Peking. 
Sun-Yat-sen's command of the purse-strings, emphasised 
and supported by his far-reaching influence over the Press at 
the Treaty Ports, was a vital factor in the situation. The 
large sums which he was able to draw from the Cantonese 
patriots of Hongkong, Singapore, America and the South 
Seas, and with which his fellow conspirators were able rapidly 
to enlist a considerable body of semi-piratical troops, gave 
Canton, from the first, a commanding position and some 
justification for self-assertiveness. Sun Yat-sen's intimate 
relations with Japanese financiers and his arrangements made, 



through them, for the purchase of arms and ammunition, 
undoubtedly conferred enormous prestige upon the 
Cantonese leader, which increased as the movement grew, 
by reason of the unmistakable success of the Republican 
Press campaign in America and England. It was only when 
the ever-latent jealousies of the Central provinces awoke to 
the conclusion that Sun Yat-sen's ambitions meant " China 
for the Cantonese " that the dream of a harmoniously united 
Celestial Republic began to fade. To do him justice, this 
interpretation of Cantonese activities was no fault of Sun 
Yat-sen, whose Utopian visions have been singularly free 
from provincialism, and whose rabid Republicanism has at 
least the merit of sincerity. Of the three men who made 
the Republic, it may be said, indeed, that Sun Yat-sen was 
born a Republican, whilst T'ang Shao-yi achieved Re- 
publicanism, and Li Yuan-hung had Republicanism thrust 
upon him. 

In arriving at the conclusion that Republican institutions 
are entirely irreconcilable with the traditions and instincts of 
the Chinese people, it is necessary once more to emphasise, 
in conclusion, the essential differences which distinguish 
the inhabitants of the mountainous provinces of the south- 
eastern coast from those of the great plains ; bearing these 
differences in mind, it is possible to conceive the eventual 
establishment of a Republic, framed on American lines, for 
Kuangtung and Kuangsi. In these provinces, the intelligent 
and semi-political activities of the secret societies have 
undoubtedly educated afar larger public than is ever reached 
by the politicians of Central or Northern China ; as far as 
they are concerned, the visions of Sun Yat-sen are not 
beyond the remoter horizons of possibility. 

A Cantonese Republic would combine the intellectual 
activities of Irish Home Rule with the guerilla factions of 
South American States — and the results, during a long 
educational period, would assuredly resemble those of JNIexico 
or Uruguay, rather than those of Switzerland or North 



America. In any case, the proceedings of such a RepubUc 
could never be dull, and the severity of the economic pro- 
blem in the region of the Pearl River w^ould be periodically 
reduced by the blood-lettings of civil strife. 

The importance of the Cantonese party as a determinant 
factor in the future of China justifies separate consideration 
of its constitutional elements and political tendencies. 




It is impossible fairly to appreciate the origins and 
tendencies of China's unrest without having studied the 
Cantonese in their native place. To have lived a year in 
the Native City at Canton is to understand the causes of the 
country's present discontents better than they could be 
learned in many years of Peking. For Canton is essentially 
the fountain head and focus of Chinese unrest. 

I have referred in earlier chapters to the geographical and 
climatic conditions which differentiate the social structure 
obtaining in the mountainous South Eastern provinces from 
that of the great alluvial plain of Central China and the wind- 
swept lands of the sandy North. The spur of the Himalayas 
which runs eastwards and south through Yunnan, forming 
the northern border of the two Kuang provinces, and which 
then turns to the North-East, enclosing Fukhien and 
Southern Chekiang between its hills and the sea, forms a 
barrier sufficient in itself to account for many notable 
differences of physical type and mental characteristics. 
Many philosophical writers have emphasised the tendencies 
to political separation induced in the inhabitants of coast- 
lands by their maritime interests and occupations ; in the 
case of the Kuang provinces, this tendency has naturally 
been aggravated by the existence of the great mountain 
barrier, whose steep passes carry but a thin stream of com- 
munication. It has furthermore been intensified (and with 



it has arisen a chronic antagonism between Northern and 
Southern China), by the fact that the Manchus' domination 
was not estabhshed in this region for some forty-five years 
after it had been recognised by the rest of China. The 
complete subjection of Kuangsi in particular was not 
effected by the Emperor K'ang Hsi until the death of the 
popular prince and leader, Wu San-kuei ; the memories of 
that stout resistance to the alien's rule have lingered on to 
this day, perpetuated by the activities of the Triad Society 
and other anti-dynastic leagues ; they burst into new and 
vigorous life in the Taiping rebellion, and would then have 
overthrown the dynasty had it not been for Gordon and his 
ever- victorious army." During the reigns of K'ang Hsi, 
Yung Cheng and Ch'ien Lung, while the Manchus' authority 
was effectively maintained throughout the Empire, the 
intransigeants of these Secret Societies, unable to indulge in 
political agitation, manifested their discontents (and incident- 
ally, made a living) by piracy and dacoitry, creating an 
endemic jfialaise of disorder and unrest at every weak point 
in the administrative structure, whereof the traditions and 
practice continue to this day. But whether as pirate or 
politician, the typical Cantonese has ever subscribed in his 
heart to the legend of the Taiping banners " Destroy the 
IVIanchu, re-instate the Ming" — and Canton, the irreconcil- 
able, has been a persistent thorn in the side of the dynasty. 
It was left for Sun Yat-sen, as the apostle of a new and 
undigested political creed, to substitute something which, at 
first sight, seemed even more attractive to the eyes of many 
of his followers than a Ming restoration. 


In addition to the characteristics evolved by their history, 
and by tlieir internal geographical position, the Cantonese, as 
a maritime community more favourably situated than any 
other in China for the development of commerce with the 



outside world, have developed, from that commerce, and 
from their intercourse with foreigners, qualities of mental 
and physical alertness which plainly distinguish them from 
the rigidly localised and isolated inhabitants of the interior. 
It is true that their traffics and discoveries by water were 
never undertaken in that Viking spirit of adventure with 
which they have been credited — their junks were always 
coast-hugging craft, and if they ventured far out upon the 
uncharted trackless seas, they were captained, as Chao 
Ju-kua^ has recorded it, by Arabs and Persians. Under 
economic pressure, they colonised the isles of the coast, 
including Hainan and Formosa ; they traded with Siam, 
Manila, Java and Borneo and the Straits — but up to the end 
of the Ming dynasty, the JNIalabar Coast was the furthest 
west reached by the Cantonese junks. As Hegel observes 
in his " Philosophy of History," this " going forth into the 
sea from the confinement of the land is lacking to the 
splendid state edifices of Asia, even when they border on 
the sea, as does China. For them, the sea is only the end 
of the land : they have no direct relations with it." 

I refer to this aspect of their maritime activities because 
it has a certain bearing upon the present-day proclivities of 
the Cantonese and explains, to some extent, those peculiar- 
ities of Young China upon which Prince Ito laid such 
stress.^ A people thus situated could not fail to become 
traffickers in sea-borne cargoes. They were willing and 
ready to take the advantages of their commercial position, 
and in the process they must needs learn something of the 
great world beyond their horizon. But the trade was the 
thing ; to the influence and to the Western learning 
of the foreign trader they remained haughtily impervious 
throughout the centuries. They were wilHng to buy from 

^ " Chao Ju-kua — His Work on the Chinese and Arab Trade in the Twelfth 
and Thirteenth Centuries." Translated from the Chinese and annotated by 
Friedrich Hirth and W. W. Rockhill. Published by the Imperial Academy 
of Sciences at St. Petersburg, 1911. 

^ Vide supra, p. 174. 




Indian, Persian and Arab merchants their ivory, spices and 
precious stones, but they had no curiosity concerning the 
Western lands from which these things came. In the 
Portuguese, Dutch and British ships which, in their turn, 
came trading from the West, they saw no matter for 
specidation other than that of barter. Even in the days of 
the closest relations between the Co-hongs of Canton and 
the East India Company, the Chinese attitude seems to 
have been one of philosophic aloofness, tempered by greed 
of gain, but never by curiosity. 

Theirs was essentially a superior home-staying, and not 
a forth faring inquisitive commerce ; from the sixteenth 
century onwards, after the extermination of the Portuguese 
trading depots in Kuangtung and Fukhien, the foreign 
merchant who came to Canton came at his own risks, lived 
on sufferance, and was subjected to innumerable hardships 
and exactions. There was a brief period of enlightened 
trade legislation under K'ang Hsi ; but under Ch'ien Lung, 
Canton being the only port open to foreign traders, the 
East India Company's servants were treated with every 
possible indignity. 

Nevertheless, despite what Sir Robert Hart once called 
their " pride of race, pride of intellect, pride of civilisation, 
pride of supremacy, in its massive and magnificent setting of 
blissful ignorance," despite their stolid, unshaken belief in the 
inherent superiority of their own civilisation, the Cantonese 
could not remain entirely uninfluenced and unbenefited by 
their contact with the Western world. They did remain, to 
use Prince Ito's words, " deliberately blind to the evidence 
of their own eyes long after they had been forced into 
direct and close contact with Western influence " ; but as 
the means of communication increased between West and 
East, the advantages of their strategic position as a trading 
centre carried with it certain disabilities which, in the end, 
proved stimulating to the collective intelligence of the City 
of Rams. For the unjust exactions and indignities inflicted 


Pounding Corn for Meal in the Famine Re(;ion, 
North Kiangsu. 


upon British traders brought down upon Canton the pains 
and penalties of two disastrous wars. Twice within twenty 
years was it brought home to an arrogant but quick-witted 
race that the methods of the outer barbarian and his 
material equipment, at least, were worthy of study. Those 
severe object lessons assuredly contributed to the education 
of the Cantonese, which has given them their present 
ascendancy in every department of Young China's political 
and intellectual activities. 


Thus we see that the inherent and permanent causes of 
the racial characteristics which especially distinguish the 
people of South-eastern China arise mainly from the 
geographical situation of these provinces ; whilst their 
intellectual and political activities may be ascribed to the 
accumulative effect of their experiences and direct relations 
with foreigners, resulting from the advantages of their 
maritime trade. But the chronic internal unrest of this 
region is not attributable to either, or both, of those causes : 
its origin must be sought in the economic condition of the 
people. Nowhere in China does the burden of population 
press more severely on the visible means of subsistence. 
Here, in the swarming ant-hills of their cities, in the over- 
flowing towns and villages of the agricultural districts, in the 
vast floating population of the rivers and coasts, one may see 
the fearful problem of China's man-breeding and man- 
feeding working itself out to inexorably tragic conclusions. 
Canton itself presents the process and its results with such 
appalling vividness that even the casual globe-trotter carries 
back with him a nightmare sense of pressure unspeakable. 
Anyone who has spent months or years amidst these 
pullulating masses, who has walked the streets of Canton's 
City of Dreadful Night and watched the flotsam and jetsam 
of its purlieus struggling for their daily meal, can never 
forget the sights and sounds and smells of this man-made 



Inferno. Here is a city of a million souls, with scarcely 
a breathing space, without a park or public place of open-air 
recreation ; its streets narrowed down to the bare six or 
seven feet required for traffic. There is no room for vehicles 
— the work of beasts of burden is done by short-lived men, 
waging their daily war with semi-starvation. The chair 
coolie eats his bowl of rice in the street between two fares : 
food is bought and sold in microscopic portions, the very 
beans and peanuts counted on the huckster's stall. The 
shops have been cut down, by pressure of population, to 
mere boxes, crowding each other along and across the narrow 
street, and each has to support more apprentices than it 
needs, because somehow they must live. A struggle for life 
so intense breeds pirates, outlaws and desperadoes as a 
cheese breeds maggots — and in the upper strata it breeds 
hungry place-seekers and desperadoes of the political type. 
Yet in spite of their nightmare existence of toil and pitiful 
wage, perhaps because of the very cheapness and precarious- 
ness of human life, the Cantonese are a cheerful and 
philosophical race. When pestilence comes, as it must, to 
thin out the weaklings and make room for the next swarm 
of predestined hungry ones, they accept it, and all other 
manifestations of the " wrath of Heaven," as part of the 
common lot of humanity. They are, in truth, a splendid 
people, intelligent, hardy and laborious, in industrial energy 
surpassing every nation of the modern world ; their only sin 
(and that unconscious) lies in subservience to a social system 
which bhndly provides with each generation new materials 
for plague, pestilence and famine. At Hongkong, under the 
a?gis of the British Crown, the conditions are the same, 
tempered only by the European's sanitation and some of the 
minor decencies of life and death. 


Before the nineteenth century brought to the knowledge 
of these people means of communication and outlets for 



their surplus millions overseas, Nature adjusted in her own 
ruthlesss way the balance between population and food 
supply. Then came a time when these adventurous hunger- 
driven folk sought and found places in the sun — in the 
Straits Settlements, in Batavia, in Burmah, Siam and 
Honolulu, in Canada and the United States ; and every- 
where they went, they proved that, given good government 
and a fair field of opportunity, they are intellectually and 
morally qualified to make useful citizens. Economically 
they have no superiors in fair competition, having been 
inured to a standard of living on which no white race can 
exist. The natural solidity and reliability of the Cantonese, 
their ready adaptability to climate and environment, their 
sobriety and thrift, all combine to make them ideal settlers 
in undeveloped regions. And the same economic superiority 
rapidly concentrates wealth in the hands of their merchants, 
bankers and ship-owners. The Chinese practically own the 
British Colonies of Hongkong and Singapore to-day : given 
fifty years of the open door " and they would own the 
Pacific coast of America.^ But the door has been closed, 
because of the white race's instinct of self-preservation, in 
those parts of the world to which the teeming millions of 
Kuangtung and Fukhien looked chiefly for salvation. 
America and Australia have warned off the yellow man, 
building against him the great wall of their Exclusion Acts. 
Between 1870 and 1910, about ten millions of Chinese 
toilers had found new homes and new hopes overseas, 
greatly relieving the pressure in Kuangtung and Fukhien, 
not only by their absence, but by their remittances in cash to 

^ In a despatch addressed to Sir Edward Grey by the British representa- 
tive at Lima on the 20th of October, 1911, the Chinese colony in Peru was 
estimated to number between 14,000 and 15,000 ; many of whom are 
Christians, and who intermarry with the Peruvians. It was stated in the 
same despatch that the sums actually subscribed for the purposes of the 
Revolutionary party by the Chinese in Lima, Iquique, and Guayaquil 
amounted to a million pounds sterling, half of which amount had been 
remitted by telegraph to the Revolutionary finance committee at Honolulu. 


their ancestral homes. ^ It is estimated that there are nearly 
three million Chinese in Siam.^ In the Malay States they 
outnumber and outclass the Malays; in Indo-China and 
Tongking they constitute the industrial backbone of the 
country. Yet every fresh proof given of their fitness to 
survive in the fiercest struggle for life merely increases the 
certainty that the races whose economic existence is 
threatened by their invasions will sooner or later follow 
the example of Australia and America. It is equally 
certain that the people of these congested provinces must 
either emigrate, or overflow (as in the case of the Taiping 
rebellion) northwards, or starve. It is their collective 
aversion to starvation which finds its chronic expression in 
the unreason and unrest of their political leaders ; and which 
instinctively recognises a new menace in the expansionist 
policy (equally due to enonomic pressure) of Japan in 
^lanchuria and Mongolia. 

The intelligents of Canton — Young China — bitterly resent 
the Asiatic Exclusion Acts of the United States and those 
other civilised countries which enforce, or attempt to 
enforce, the policy of the Open Door in China. As an 
example of Chinese sentiment on this subject, I take the 
following from the Republican Advocate of Shanghai: 

" Colonial opinion exceeds by far the written law in 
antagonism to Asiatic development, and in Canada, 
Australia and the greater part of South Africa, that 
opinion is unanimous. Though they may sometimes be 

1 In 1904 Mr. Morse estimated the annual remittances of Chinese overseas 
at more than a liundred milHons of taels (say 15^000,000/.). 

2 The Burraah Census Report for 1911 shows a total of 123,000 Chinese 
resident in the Province, as against G2,486 in 1901. These Chinese inter- 
marry freely with Burmese women, " the fusion being generally considered 
to be a most advantageous racial combination." It is interesting to note 
that the custom lias become finnly established that the male children born 
of these marriages are considered to be Chinese, and the females Burmese. 
The Bui-mese-born Chinaman, extremely jealous of his Chinese nationality, 
insists on assuming that he was born in China to obviate any possible doubt 
on the subject. 



uneasy of conscience, the colonists are firm of conviction. 
East and West, North and South, as Anglo-Saxon rule 
runs round the globe, the door is closed to the free develop- 
ment of Asia's children. It is not in the Colonial Statute 
books that anti- Asiatic feeling finds strongest expression, 
but in the unrecorded incidents of every-day life." 

The writer of this article ascribes the exclusion of Asiatics 
to race-antagonism, implying a natural antipathy of the 
white race for the yellow. This idea is widely held amongst 
educated Chinese : they fail to perceive in the action of the 
United States a simple instinct of self-preservation, as 
inevitable in the struggle for life as the emigrating impulse 
of the Hakka coolie. Rarely do we see, where white men 
and yellow live in the same communities, racial antagonism 
assuming the form of physical and mental repulsion. The 
trouble lies in the white races' recognition of, and self-protec- 
tion against, the fact that the Chinese birth-rate is three 
times as high as the American and that, if the Caucasian 
would avoid being ruined by Chinese cheap labour," he 
must keep the door closed. It is usual for diplomacy to 
cast a veil of fine phrases over the brutalities of the life 
struggle ; and American statesmen, in particular, have 
always been careful to cloak with verbal decencies the grim 
truth that, in that struggle, might is right, and that only 
from the weak can the " open door " be demanded. In 1868, 
the Burlingame Treaty cordially recognised, in the blissful- 
ness of ignorance, " the inherent and inalienable right of man 
to change his home and allegiance, and also the mutual 
advantage of the free immigration and emigration of 
their citizens and subjects respectively from one country to 
the other, for purposes of curiosity, of trade or as permanent 
residents." Vox et prceterea nihil! In 1880, the Yellow 
Peril had already been realised, and altruistic sentiments 
made way for measures of self -protection. 

The operation was performed with diplomatic delicacy. 
It was clearly impossible to prohibit " inalienable rights " : 

193 o 


therefore the official faces of Washington and Peking alike 
were saved by an agreement which gave the United States 
power to " limit or suspend " Chinese immigration. In 1883 
and again in 1894, Chinese immigration was limited for a 
period of ten years. The latter agreement lapsed in 1904, but 
the exclusion law remained in force. ^ Against it the feeling 
of the Cantonese ran high, culminating in 1905 in an organised 
boycott of American trade. This movement unmistakably 
expressed the indignant feelings of the Cantonese, which had 
been aggravated by America's closing the door to Chinese 
immigration in her Colonial possessions. The Exclusion 
Act was applied in 1902 to the Philippines, one of the 
Chinese labourers' happiest hunting grounds ; and the 
plantations of Hawaii were also closed to them. Even if 
these things had happened twenty years before, they would 
have affected the economic equilibrium in Canton : as it was, 
the outflow was checked at a time when large communities 
of Chinese abroad had absorbed new ideas concerning the 
rights of nations and individuals, and had learned to assert 
them by means of effective organisation. The difference 
between the altruistic professions of the white races and their 
treatment of the Chinese emigrant is deeply resented by 
these communities. Young China's pathetic announcements 
of its determination to organise military strength and all the 
resources of a world power, are largely inspired by this 
resentment and by a keen sense of injustice. 


The new nationalism and demonstrative patriotism of the 
Chinese communities overseas, differing widely in quality 

1 The inveterate ostrich quality of diplomacy is well exemplified by the 
action of the United States State Department which, apres tout cela, is able 
to express its sympathies for the Jews excluded from Russia and to make 
friendly representations to the Government of the Tsar on behalf of the 
excluded. The economic root-cause of the exclusion policy in both cases is, 
of course, the same, though overgrown and often concealed by religious and 
social sentiments. 



and degree from the sentiments of the masses in China, afford 
an interesting subject of study. Neither by distance, nor by 
generations of exile do they lose touch with the ancient 
civilisation — their unchanging traditions and philosophy seem 
rather to expand with their prosperity under the protecting 
rule of the alien. The physical virility of the race persists 
side by side with the dynamic forces of the Confucian 
morality. The Chinese abroad dominate their environment 
by sheer force of sustained energy. The loyalty and 
affection which they retain for the home land is naturally 
bound up with ancestor-worship ; even in the communities 
which no longer send back their dead for burial in China the 
ancestral home is remembered in honour and generally 
supported with largesse. The political tendencies of these 
emigrants are almost universally democratic and progressive ; 
and their liberalism takes the practical form of subscriptions 
to Young China's funds. The outbreak of the Revolution, in 
October, 1911, was the signal for extraordinary demonstrations 
of enthusiasm — at Perak the mine-owners subscribed a million 
dollars to the revolutionary war-chest, while the coohes in the 
mines contributed $10,000 ; the cutting of queues was the 
occasion for a general hoUday. At Toronto, more than a 
thousand Chinese residents celebrated the inauguration of 
the RepubUc by a joyful procession and a banquet. In Java, 
the rejoicings took the form of a riot, owing to the authorities' 
refusal to allow the hoisting of the Republican flag. From 
all sides the leaders of the revolutionary movement received 
subscriptions and encouragement. 

Sun Yat-sen's Republican sentiments undoubtedly 
represent chiefly the political opinions of his compatriots 
overseas, and the fact is significantly reflected in the 
Republican Government's decision that the Chinese 
communities abroad are to be represented by delegates in 
the National Assembly. How long the patriotic fervour of 
these communities will continue to take the form of 
subscriptions to Young China is a doubtful point. Those 

195 o 2 


subscriptions are in a sense national, but it is safe to say that 
the enthusiasm at the back of them has been aroused and 
maintained by Canton's predominant part in the Revolution 
and to its initiative in the Republican movement. Let the 
T'ung Meng-hui and its Cantonese leaders be definitely 
excluded from their pride of place by rival factions, and we 
may confidently expect to see the activities and sympathies 
of the rich Chinese communities in America and the Straits 
diverted from national to provincial aspirations. For 
these communities owe their first allegiance to Canton, and 
'* China for the Cantonese " is a sentiment unmistakably 
prevalent in all their policies. All Canton is, in a sense, 
Young China ; but Young China is not by any means all 
Cantonese. Canton represents intellectual activities and 
sources of wealth overseas to which the rest of China cannot 
aspire, but Anhui, Kiangsu and Chihli represent formidable 
powers of combination and a traditional objection to 
Cantonese domination. Herein lies the chief cause of the 
Republic's initial troubles ; herein the significance of Yuan 
Shih-k'ai's deliberate opinion that the widely divergent aims 
of North and South can by no means be reconciled ; herein, 
too, the only explanation of his retention of General Huang 
Hsing (organiser of the Canton revolt in the spring of 1911), 
to supreme and semi-independent command of the military 
forces of Southern China. 


The Cantonese have been called the Irish of China, and in 
many respects the title is pertinent enough. They possess 
all the Irishman's ingrained penchant for conspiracies, all his 
talent for political organisation. They are traditionally and 
by temperament " agin the Government," heirs of ages of 
revolt against Peking's constituted authority ; courageous, no 
respecters of persons, impatient of restraint, sullen in their 
political antipathies, invincibly cheerful in their daily lives. 



Rebellion-makers in ordinary to the Chinese people, their 
intellectual activities and clannishness have fitted them 
naturally for leadership in treasons, stratagems and spoils ; 
their political methods bear an unmistakable family likeness 
to those by virtue of which the Irish dominate the internal 
affairs of the United States ; their camarilla instinct, 
developed by centuries of Secret Society work, attains in 
practice to scientific precision. They have learned the 
successful politician's secret of profitably directing the 
labours of other men, and their contempt for the slower- 
witted Northerners is never very carefully concealed. 

As politicians, their proceedings are marked by an 
emotional and frequently infectious fervour of enthusiasm ; 
behind this, unfortunately deep-rooted in economic duress, 
frequently lurk instincts as predatory in their way as those of 
the pirates of their coasts ; a fierce lust of office which, if balked, 
often outweighs all sense of patriotic duty and endeavour. 
This last characteristic is by no means peculiar to the 
Cantonese — the army of the place-seekers is thoroughly 
national — but the Cantonese have developed it with all their 
peculiar energy and with a measure of success which was 
bound to lead to trouble. " The most envious of all mankind," 
observes Mill, " are the Orientals. In Oriental mora;lists, in 
Oriental tales, the envious man is remarkably prominent. In 
real life, he is the terror of all who possess anything 
desirable." Thus we find the Cantonese not only in opposition 
to the political factions of the North, but divided amongst 
themselves by private animosities and public feuds. 


The line of cleavage between North and South showed it- 
self from the outset of the Revolution. The Eastern 
Times of Shanghai put the case for the Cantonese succinctly 
in commenting on the action of the National Assembly at 
Nanking, which inaugurated Yuan Shih-k'ai's administration 



as President of the Republic by opposing his selection of 
Ministers for the Cabinet in March, 1912. It observed that, 
in the opinion of the Nanking Assembly, consisting princi- 
pally of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's adherents in the T'ung Meng-hui, 
the South was the first to raise the banner of Republican- 
ism ; consequently it should enjoy the spoils of the Revolu- 

After raising the banner of Republicanism, the Cantonese 
forces were speedily divided into two camps — the advanced 
Radical party or T'ung Meng-hui, led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, and 
the Constitutional or Moderate Reformers.^ The latter body 
professed to accept the principles of the Reformers of 1898 
(led by K'ang Yu-wei and Liang Ch'i-ch'ao) which are 
practically identical with the opinions advocated by Yuan 
Shih-k'ai when fighting for the principle of a limited 
Monarchy. The Moderate Republican's policy was a 
reaction against Sun Yat-sen's extreme Radicalism ; judging 
by its leadership and principles, it should not require much 
persuasion to convert it definitely to the support of a Con- 
stitutional Monarchy. Its leaders include Wu Ting-fang 
and Wen Tsung-yao, Cantonese both, who held important 
posts under the Monarchy. These men were the first repre- 
sentatives and spokesmen of the Revolutionary party at 
Shanghai in November, 1911 : to them belongs the credit of 
the ably conducted press campaign which was largely instru- 
mental in securing the benevolent neutrality of the Powers. 
By the beginning of February, the followers of Sun Yat-sen, 
jealous of these eleventh-hour converts to the cause, had 
stripped them of their offices and had removed the 
Republican headquarters from Shanghai to Nanking. The 
Cantonese Guild and other Cantonese societies at Shanghai 
addressed a protest to Sun Yat-sen and the Provisional 
Assembly against this action of the T'ung Meng-hui, a fact 
which indicated that the mercantile community was already 

^ This was written before the organisation of the Kuo Min-tang, or 
combined Nationahst party, vide supra, p. 107 (footnote). 



at this early stage alarmed at the unreasoning iconoclasm of 
the extremists. They, like Wu Ting- fang and his friends, 
were morever antagonised by the influence exercised over 
Sun Yat-sen by his numerous Japanese advisers. The seeds 
of dissension were thus freely sown ; the bond of union that 
had held the Southerners together in opposition to the 
Manchus snapped almost as soon as victory was in sight, and 
the unedifying spectacle began of a fierce internecine struggle 
for the spoils. 


As it was with the National Convention before the Terror in 
France, so it was in China; the union of the Republican 
Jacobins ceased with the expulsion of the Monarchy. In 
February, 1912, we find two clearly divided parties in the 
Republican camp, both democratic in theory, both professing 
love of country and the well-being of the people, but repre- 
senting, nevertheless, in their very differences, the eternal 
struggle of the " haves " and the " have-nots." The 
Conservatives of China to-day are the followers of K'ang 
Yu-wei and Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, of the league of the T'ung 
Yi-t'ang, Constitutional Reformers. The T'ung Meng-hui of 
the Radicals, under the nominal leadership of Sun Yat-sen, 
soon became a babel of confused voices which, for a brief 
moment last spring, was dominated by the personality and 
presence of its most distinguished member — the Premier, 
Tang Shao-yi. 

Examining the general political conditions of the country 
at this period, we perceive that Canton is to China what 
Paris was to France in 1789, and that the first Republican 
schism was a schism between groups of Cantonese politicians. 
Its inherent differences, dating back many years, are 
differences of personalities rather than of principles. The 
Chinese Girondins, for the most part timid doctrinaires and 
visionaries, had, at the outset, little chance of successfully 



asserting their opinions against the noisy activities of the 
Jacobins ; but they represent, for all that, solid and per- 
manent elements in the State, literati, the peasants and the 
merchants, who believe instinctively in law and order. 
The Jacobins, on the other hand, have gradually become 
identified with a policy very similar, in aspiration and 
methods, to that professed by the advanced Radicals of 
Portugal (Sun Yat-sen is merely Dr. AfFonso Costa, 
Orientalised) ; but their position is inherently weak as 
compared with that of European Jacobins, because in reality 
they do not represent any considerable section of the 

Four months after the inauguration of the Republic we 
find the North China Daily News, the leading English 
journal in China, which had consistently sympathised with 
the cause of the Revolution, commenting editorially^ on the 
chaotic conditions then prevailing in the Kuang provinces, 
thus : 

The state of chaos that exists at the moment in China 
as the result of the weakness and incompetence of the 
Peking Government, is emphasised nowhere as it is in the 
two Kuangs. Judging from recent telegrams and the reports 
of correspondents, a southern contemporary is only stating 
the plain truth when it says that the country is arousing 
itself to a pitch of revolt, compared with which, when it 
breaks out, the bloodiest days of the revolution may pale 
into insignificance. . . . Everywhere the sweeping reforms 
of the past four months have been viewed with apprehension, 
because it was patent to all foreigners that they were 
instituted without adequate foresight, knowledge or definite 
constructive policy. ... 

" In the South, as in the North, the key to the situation is 
finance. At the time that Canton declared her independence, 
large numbers of banknotes for which there was no silver 
reserve, were printed and issued. Now that there is a 
greater financial stringency, the people are beginning to 

1 June the 18th, 1912. 

Famine Refugees on the Tramt. 



realise that these notes are only of the value of so much 
paper. . . . Work is scarce, rates of wages are low, and 
the exercise of the so-called martial law has made the con- 
ditions of life almost unendurable. The stories of unthink- 
able atrocities and licensed butchery, often the fulfilment of 
private revenge, are such that few correspondents care to 
relate more than the barest facts. Any confidence that may 
have been placed in the Provincial Assembly has been dis- 
pelled by the stories of the orgies in which some members 
are alleged to indulge and the absolute lack of any signs of 
ability to do more than obstruct the senior official of the 

(Contemplating these results of a generally approved 
though necessarily futile effort to remedy social evils by 
the sudden rearrangement of a revolution, the mind reverts 
to the fundamental truth of Herbert Spencer's words, " out 
of the nominally free government set up, a new despotism 
arises, differing from the old by having a new shibboleth, and 
new men to utter it ; but identical with the old in the 
determination to put down opposition, and in the means 
used to this end.") 

Small wonder if, under such conditions, not all the 
persuasive eloquence and patriotic fervour of Dr. Sun 
Yat-sen could make the post of Governor- General of 
Kuangtung attractive to any Sea-green Incorruptible of 
the Republic. In November, 1911, Chan Kwing-ming, an 
ardent Republican whose ambition it was to lead the 
semi-piratical forces of Kuangtung to the capture and 
sacking of Peking, found himself appointed Governor- 
General of Canton by the orders of Sun Yat-sen ; his 
protests were unavailing and he reluctantly assumed office. 
He seems to have done his best to control the disorderly 
elements in his district, checking the looting propensities of 
his ex-pirates and disbanding a considerable number of the 
local militia. Unfortunately for him, he committed the 
blunder of executing the editor of a native journal, for 
inciting to violence and sedition ; whereupon Young China 



turned upon him as one man. When, therefore, he was 
notified that Sun Yat-sen was returning to Canton (in May), 
bringing ^vith him one Wang Ching-mai, a former Governor 
of Kuangtung, w^ho (much against his will) would take 
over the Governorship, Chan stood not upon the order of 
his going, but left secretly and in haste, for the safe refug^ 
of Hongkong. Wang Ching-mai, in the meanwhile, had 
decided, upon final reflection, to abide there also. Sun 
Yat-sen was therefore obliged to find another candidate ; 
several prominent Republicans found the occasion opportune 
for visits to their ancestral tombs or to their relatives in 
distant parts of the country. From all of which the leading 
English journal was led, more in sorrow than in anger, to 
the conclusion that Canton, more than any other province, 
demonstrates the need of the establishment of a strong 
Government under capable leadership at the earliest possible 
moment ; for however often we may be told that the people 
of China are democratic at heart, the fact remains that 
nothing but a strong central authority can command respect 
and peace among the Sons of Han." It would have been 
well for China and for the world at large had this wisdom 
come to the foreign Press in China, and found its echo at 
home, in time to prevent the Chamber of Commerce, and 
other influential bodies, from opposing the policy of Yuan 
Shih-k'ai, the one "strong central authority" in China. 


The ascendancy of Cantonese Young China and the 
influence exercised by the T'ung Meng-hui and its student- 
officials, are matters which directly concern the commercial 
interests of foreigners in China. For if there be one solid 
plank in their platform, it lies in their determination to press 
by all possible means for the early abolition of foreigners' 
extra-territorial rights and for the recovery of tariff autonomy. 
Already, by a well-organised Press campaign, and by making 



the utmost of British sympathy ^vith China's natural aspira- 
tions, the ends are being rough-hewn to these purposes. 
Theoretically, the arguments advanced in favour of these 
changes by the elite of China's Western-learning Intelligents, 
are irrefutable. Peking used to hear them daily from Yuan 
Shih-k'ai's Cantonese lieutenants at the time when T'ang 
Shao-yi succeeded in driving his first wedge into the Foreign 
Inspectorate of the Imperial Maritime Customs, by the Edict 
of the 9th of May, 1906. The Chinese graduate from Harvard 
or Yale, easily able to hold his own with the most intelligent 
and cultured foreigner, had no difficulty in proving the 
injustice of a system which, as T'ang Shao-yi was fond of 
explaining, was a survival of the Taiping disorders. Of 
the intellectual capacity of the educated Chinese, there 
could be no question ; of their good intentions in the 
matter of reforms, there was no reason to doubt : China 
was their country, and the privileged position claimed by 
Europeans was a stumbling-block to progress, since it 
humiliated the Chinese Government in the eyes of its own 
subjects. The fallacy which underlies the patriotic argu- 
ments of T'ang Shao-yi and his followers, lies, as they are 
well aware, in the assumption that Young China has 
developed the virtue of common honesty, of personal 
integrity in the handling of public business and public 
money. It is an assumption which nothing in their 
history or our experience justifies ; nevertheless, the very 
men who openly accuse each other of malversation, will 
solemnly maintain it as a self-evident truth, established 
beyond all question of reasonable beings. Members of the 
Diplomatic Body naturally experience some difficulty in 
declining to approach the question on this basis, if only 
because of the impossibility of proving a negative pro- 
position. Given proof that the Chinese official class is 
capable of producing even a limited number of honest 
administrators and incorruptible Judges, and that it has done 
so, and there would naturally cease to be either necessity or 



justification for the Foreign Customs Inspectorate and for 
the maintenance of extra-territorial rights. The amour-propre 
of Cantonese Young China is offended by this aspect of the 
question. Squeezing," they will tell you, is a trivial fault, 
an ancient custom which still persists amongst a certain 
number of the unenlightened, but it will surely fade, like 
morning mist, before the coming reforms, in which Europe 
must co-operate by the abolition of the extra-territorial 
anomaly. They cite the prevalence of " graft " in America 
as proof that a State may be corruptly administered and yet 
be great. The men who argue thus are well aware that the 
fine flower of their class, T'ang Shao-yi and his American- 
educated colleagues of the Chihli administration under Yuan, 
have made fortunes by the old time-honoured methods of 
** squeeze." The real sentiment at the back of their conten- 
tions is one of wounded amour-propre and resentment at the 
assertion of superior force implied by the foreigners' control 
of the Customs and exemption from Chinese jurisdiction. 
It is a sentiment which, forgetting China's obligations under 
foreign loan and indemnity agreements, is rooted in the 
perfectly intelligible but impossible idea of " China for the 
Chinese " — the idea which makes Chinese officials long for 
the abolition of this imperium in i7/ipe?Ho. Frankly stated, 
the contention of the Cantonese amounts to saying : " This 
is our country, and such squeezing as exists is our own 
business. Stay, if you like to accept us and our customs : 
if not, go your ways ! " This is the idea which underlies the 
pathetic appeals of native journalists for "national sub- 
scriptions," to pay off the national debt, and thus to deprive 
the foreigner of any excuse for further interference with 
the affairs of China — subscriptions which go little further 
than the pockets of the mandarins and patriots who collect 




Since Japan abolished extra-territoriality by proving her 
just claim to an honourable place amongst civilised nations, 
every sincerely patriotic Chinese has felt more acutely than 
ever before the humiliating position occupied by his country 
under the existing Treaties, and the Western-learning 
Cantonese have been conspicuous for the persistence with 
which they have given expression to this sentiment. It was 
a Cantonese who advised Chang Chih-tung to insist on the 
inclusion in the Mackay Treaty (1902) of a clause providing 
for the abolition of extra-territorial rights, contingent upon 
the consent of all the Powers and Chinese effective reform 
of her judicial methods. It is due to the initiative of the 
Cantonese, led by Wu Ting-fang (himself a barrister of 
Lincoln's Inn), that the Chinese Government has compiled 
its interminable and abortive Codes of Regulations for Civil, 
Criminal and Judicial procedure. It is with a \aew to 
persuading European public opinion of the sincerity and 
rapidity of China's progress on the path of reform, that 
Cantonese Young China loudly proclaims through its Press 
the establishment of Trial by Jury in China on the strength 
of one farcical performance at the Mixed Court of the 
Foreign Settlement at Shanghai. Imbued with the same 
perfectly reasonable but unattainable ambition. Sun Yat-sen 
proclaims that the position of foreigners in China cannot fail 
to be greatly benefited by the abolition of their existing 
privileges and rights : he foresees that a marvellous develop- 
ment of trade will synchronise with the rapid spread of 
Christianity, when the Chinese is master again in his own 
house. This, indeed, is no new doctrine ; it was earnestly 
preached by Wen Hsiang, " the last of the Manchus," in 
the sixties ; but it has assumed a new aspect of late years by 
reason of the steadily increasing volume of public opinion in 
Kuangtung, and of the evidences given by the Cantonese 
party of its capacity for organised retaliation in the shape of 



trade boycotts. Most of this Cantonese public opinion, 
amongst Western-learning students and returned emigrants, 
is based on democratic principles of American origin ; to 
the uninformed observer, these naturally appeal with greater 
force than the arguments in favour of extra-territorial rights 
which, when all is said, are based on principles of expediency 
and force. As Mr. Morse (himself a faithful servant of the 
Chinese Government) has well said : 

" This remedy for the intolerable situation of the first half 
of the nineteenth century has now been in force for sixty 
years, and through it, life in China has been rendered 
possible for all foreigners. . . It has no logical or moral 
argument to uphold it, and yet it is a necessity of the case, 
if the foreign merchant and the foreign missionary are to 
remain in the country. The right will not, and cannot, be 
abrogated until all the foreign Powers concerned are unani- 
mous in their opinion that residence in China will be as safe, 
and protected by guarantees as sound, as in other countries, 
or until the growing strength and improved administration 
of China herself enable her to claim and to maintain the 
right of governing all within her borders."^ 

The Cantonese leaders of Young China proceed by asking 
Europe to assume " the growing strength and improved 
administration " (in which matter they have received no 
little assistance from a certain section of the foreign Press) ; 
to abolish extra-territoriality first and reap the reward of 
their faith in due course. Precisely the same line of argument 
has been brought to bear with complete success upon the 
British Government to secure the abolition of the Indian 
opium trade. For those who have closely studied China 
and its politics, these arguments fail to convince, not be- 
cause of their want of logical and moral weight, but 
because of the ulterior personal motives of those who 
advance them. Once more, we come back to the root of 
the whole matter ; to the lack of personal integrity in the 

^ The Trade and Administration of the Chinese Empire. By H. B. Morse. 1908. 



official class, which frustrates every popular impulse and 
every individual effort in the direction of sincere reform. 

The Cantonese RepubUcan who should fail to support the 
party platform in these matters, be he Moderate or Radical, 
would be branded as a traitor to the cause. But the 
Chinese politician, like the soldier or the student, is no 
individualist in matters where public opinion is formed by 
mass pressure ; in such cases, he moves in droves or herds, 
ruled by the inexorable guild system, swayed by common 
impulses of enthusiasm, fear or greed. Therefore the 
Cantonese party, whatever its other differences, is unani- 
mous on this subject — more unanimous even than in the 
matter of provincial control of railway construction and 
other lucrative enterprises. In the latter question, it ex- 
hibits separatist tendencies of local autonomy, the inveterate 
spirit of locality ; in the former, something which approaches 
nearer to a common cause of patriotism, and in which its 
lead has been readily followed by Young China as a whole. 



The qualities which account for the predominant influ- 
ence of the Cantonese party, and also for its ineffectiveness 
as an agency for national reform, have never been more 
clearly demonstrated than when, under Yuan Shih-k'ai s 
Viceroyalty of Chihli, the foreign affairs of the nation and 
many administrative posts in the metropolitan province, 
were held by his American-educated Cantonese lieutenants. 
Of this highly intelligent, capable and energetic group of 
officials, T'ang Shao-yi was generally recognised to be the 
leader and moving spirit. T'ang was well known to 
foreigners in general, and to the relieving forces in particular, 
as Managing Director of the Northern Railways at 
Tientsin during the Boxer troubles ; as the result of an 
unpleasant incident connected with the supply of loco- 



motives for Admiral Seymom*'s force, he narrowly escaped 
execution at the hands of the British Naval authorities. In 
January, 1907, thanks to the protection of Yuan and to his 
own exceptional ability, he had risen to a position never 
before equalled by any foreign-educated official, combining 
the posts of Director-General of Railways, Vice-President of 
the Waiwupu and High Commissioner of Customs. His 
combined salaries at this time were about £25,000 a year, 
and all business connected with foreign affairs, financial and 
political, was concentrated in his hands. At this time, the 
Customs Taotaiship at Tientsin and the management of the 
Northern Railways were also held by American educated 
Cantonese, and their fellow-provincials gradually established 
themselves in every department of the metropolitan 
administration to the unconcealed chagrin of the Hunanese 
and Fukhien cliques. The clannishness of the Cantonese, 
combined with their unquestionable capacity for business, 
enabled them to triumph over the intrigues of rival factions. 
With their incessant rallying cry of sovereign rights," by 
their intimate knowledge of the jealousies and differences 
which prevented any united action by the Powers, they 
were able gradually to obtain control of railway finance and 
to undermine the position of Sir Robert Hart as Inspector 
General of Customs. T'ang Shao-yi, in discussing the 
Customs question, boldly voiced the opinion of Young 
China that the highly-paid foreign staff was largely super- 
fluous, and that Chinese employes, i.e., Cantonese, were quite 
capable of taking its place. The vital issue of honest 
administration in this case, and many others, was burked 
and confused by vague assertions of China's sovereignty, 
undeniable in theory but wholly inadmissible, in view of the 
bondholders' rights, so long as China remains a debtor and 
administratively corrupt. Even at that date, those who 
came into close contact with T'ang and his work formed 
the opinion that, while ostensibly representing the policy of 
Yuan Shih-k'ai, his real sympathies and ambitions were 



those of the Cantonese party. ^ And there was never any 
doubt, in the minds of those who studied the methods and 
results of the Cantonese in lucrative posts at this most 
interesting period, that foreign education and progressive 
sentiments availed nothing to check the official corruption 
of the mandarin. Sir Robert Hart, himself a loyal supporter 
of " China for the Chinese," was constrained to admit that 
the establishment of mandarin control over the Customs 
must lead to the debasement of the administration, and to 
confess that the corruption of the Chinese official class alone 
had prevented him from entrusting natives with the higher 
duties of revenue collection. 

With the fall of the great Viceroy after the accession of 
the Regent, the Cantonese party in the North lost most of 
its power. Liang Shih-yi, at present fidus achates to Yuan, 
retained for a time his post at the ministry of Communica- 
tions ; Liang T'un-yen, as proteg6 of Chang Chih-tung, 
continued to hold office as Vice-President of the Waiwupu, 
and Jeme Tien-Yow was left in charge of the Kalgan 
Railway : but their position was evidently insecure. T'ang 
Shao-yi, peremptorily recalled from his special mission to the 
United States, retired into private life. The tendencies of 
the party, as a whole, became more pronouncedly anti- 
dynastic and revolutionary than they were at the time of the 
cowp d'etat in 1898. At the same time, the evidence of 
Canton's ambition and cohesion affi^rded during the six years 
of their control of affiiirs in Chihli undoubtedly served to 
educate and organise the rival factions of the Northern and 
Central provinces against Cantonese domination, with 
results apparent to-day in the concerted opposition to the 
Tung Meng-hui in the National Assembly. 

But, for good or evil, the Cantonese are undoubtedly the 
brains and backbone of the progressive movement in China. 
Their restless activity and keen political acumen, their 

^ Vide special article on T'ang Shao-yi in The Times of the 18th of 
January, 1907. 

209 P 


powers of organisation, intelligence and business capacity, 
form a combination of strength far superior to anything 
which Chihli, Kiangsu or Hunan can produce. They 
possess, moreover, an undisputable advantage in the moral 
and financial support of the Cantonese communities overseas. 
It may fairly be predicted that Canton will either succeed in 
dominating the internal politics of the Republic, by virtue of 
its superior organisation and knowledge of democratic 
institutions, or that it will insist upon conditions of provincial 
autonomy which will make an effective Central Government 


It is too early at present to predict whether nationalism or 
separatist tendencies will eventually carry the day. The 
causes and symptoms of the provincial autonomy, or Home- 
Rule all-round, movement will be separately considered in 
the next chapter ; for the present, suffice it to say that the 
disruptive forces are many and increasing. But just as a 
wave of genuine popular enthusiasm served to remove the 
anti-opium movement for a time above and beyond the 
vitiated atmosphere of mandarin self-seeking and duplicity, 
so it is conceivable that by some such manifestation of the 
good sense and patriotism of the nation, Young China may 
yet rise on stepping stones of its dead self, and subordinate 
its personal ambitions and parochialism to national ends. 
Much depends, in the inevitable crisis, upon the quality of 
the leaders and upon their perception of the country's 
imminent perils : much, too, upon the attitude and counsel of 
the representatives of the Anglo-Saxon Powers, to whom, in 
the last resort, the educated Chinese instinctively turn for 
sympathy and justice. 

The personality of Young China's leaders becomes, under 
these circumstances, a matter of no small moment. It may 
serve to enable the reader better to appreciate Young China's 



political tendencies and the general course of events if I out- 
line briefly the personalities and careers (as I have observed 
them) of the four Cantonese most prominently associated 
with the genesis of the Republic ; namely, Sun Yat-sen, 
T'ang Shao-yi, Wu Ting-fang and Wen Tsung-yao. The 
type which these men represent, be it remembered, is a 
product, not only of the comparatively recent impact of the 
West and of the new forces thereby created, but of ancient 
tutelary influences which have been operating through long 
ages. They are products of all their antecedents, remote as 
well as proximate. It is by recollection of this fact, and by 
approaching the study of Young China in the Ught of 
biological science, that we are able to grasp the significance 
of certain salient traits in the character of its leaders, and 
notably of an old-world quality of naive simplicity, a 
patriarchal. Book of Job philosophy, to be observed in the 
vie mtime of the most advanced of the moderns. 

It was said to me some years ago by an American, who 
had known Wu Ting-fang during his first term of office as 
Chinese Minister at Washington, that the things which 
chiefly contributed to his success as a popular personage in 
the United States were the intelligence which he displayed 
as an after-dinner speaker, his Oriental finesse, and the 
atmosphere of philosophical detachment and ethical 
superiority which he seemed to bring into the sordid 
world of politics and business. Most Europeans have felt 
something of the same kind in their dealings with the 
Chinese ; a dim perception of the hoary wisdom and 
immemorial experience that lies behind their conception of 
life ; a sense that, despite all his surface blemishes, even the 
" squeezing " mandarin is often nearer than we ourselves to 
the essential humanities, to the things that matter, to 
appreciation of the fundamental purposes and universal 
relations of existence. Men of the class of Wu Ting-fang 
and T'ang Shao-yi are perfectly well able to hold their own 
with foreign experts in the discussion of diplomatic or 

211 p 2 


financial questions, but their finest performances leave one 
with a vague sense of artificiality. They do these things, 
not because they like them, or believe in them, but to prove 
their skill in meeting the materialism of the West on equal 
terms ; but one feels that the Canons of the Sages are really 
more important, and that the achievements of Western 
civilisation provoke neither admiration nor desire of 
emulation in the innermost soul of the people ; that, in their 
hearts, most of the exponents of Western learning wish that 
we might take ourselves and that learning away, and leave 
the Chinese people to walk undisturbed in the ancient ways. 
In dealing with the grands seigneurs of China's literary 
caste, upright officials of the rare type of Liu K'un-yi and 
Chang Chih-tung, one felt an instinctive reverence for their 
patriarchal outlook on the universe, a perception of the fact 
that excellence in the mechanical arts may be purchased at 
the price of spiritual insight. Even in dealing with 
mandarins whose official careers are most deeply tainted with 
nepotism and greed, if one remembers the antecedents and 
economic condition of the society which has produced these 
results, one ceases to judge this unpleasant feature of 
Chinese life fi'om the standpoint of European morality and 
to approach it rather in the tolerant spirit with which we 
regard certain personages of the Old Testament. 


Wu Ting-fang, senior of the two signatories of the first 
Republican Manifesto issued from Shanghai, has long been 
known to foreigners and honourably distinguished under the 
old regime for his efforts to introduce humane methods into 
the administration of justice in China. A barrister of 
Lincoln's Inn, for many years engaged in practice at Hong- 
kong, he became a government official comparatively late 
in life, and was one of the first foreign-educated Chinese to 
hold high office under the Monarchy. In the United States, 



as Chinese Minister, he achieved a world-wide reputation 
for diplomatic ability, and became the spoiled child of the 
American Press. He followed the example of Li Hung- 
chang in cultivating an enfant terrible style of conversation, 
of impertinent questions and cryptic answers, most novel 
and effective. His perfectly natural simplicity and bon- 
homie passed for the subtlest form of Oriental diplomacy. 
Between 1903 and 1907, prior to his second term at 
Washington, he held office at Peking in the Boards of 
Commerce and Foreign Affairs, and was employed in the 
academic revision of Chinas legal codes. In 1906 he sub- 
mitted for the approval of the Throne his proposals for the 
amendment of judicial procedure, suggesting, inter alia, the 
adoption of trial by jury. His memorial being incontinently 
shelved by the Grand Council, Wu, thoroughly discouraged 
by the outlook of affairs at the capital, retired to the 
dignified repose of his luxurious European villa at Shanghai. 
(Like many another patriot, he had invested much of his 
wealth in that Foreign Settlement in which Young China 
sees a perpetual menace to China's sovereign rights, but to 
which it flocks in thousands for protection at the first sign 
of trouble.) At Shanghai he came naturally into close 
touch with the Cantonese leaders of the revolutionary move- 
ment, and showed his sympathy with the aspirations evoked 
by the Russo-Japanese war. He accepted re-appointment 
as Minister to America in 1907, at the instance of T'ang 
Shao-yi, who hoped that the presence of a persona grata 
at Washington might assist in engaging the American 
Government's active sympathy against the encroachments 
of Japan in Manchuria ; but his loyalty to the INIanchus had 
been visibly shaken, and his prompt acceptance of the 
Republican programme in October, 1911, evoked no surprise 
amongst those who knew how deeply he had resented 
Peking's cavalier treatment of his proposed reforms. In 
foreign politics, Wu Ting-fang has always preserved some- 
thing of the detachment of an amateur ; in public affairs 



he is a humanitarian doctrinaire ; and in private life, a most 
courteous and affable gentleman. He believes implicitly in 
nuts as the proper food of mankind, and his attitude towards 
the exuberant iconoclasm of Young China is suggestive of a 
hen that watches her brood of ducklings taking to the water. 


Wen Tsung-yao represents the less attractive but more 
common type of the ambitious, intriguing politician. Well 
equipped for the struggle in the possession of remarkable 
intelligence and a good education, he has never wasted any 
of his energies in the pursuit of philanthropic phantoms, nor 
sacrificed any opportunities on the altars of reform. His has 
been the career of the successful party intriguer, with a fine 
Jlair for the winning side. He commenced life as an ardent 
patriot and reformer, employed as sub-editor of the progressive 
Univei^sal Gazette, then the organ of the Marquis Tseng, 
at Shanghai. As a member of an anti-dynastic and 
revolutionary society, he became involved in the " Supao " 
newspaper sedition case, and owed his life to the protection 
of the Shanghai municipal authorities. He subsequently 
took service under Mr. Willis E. Gray, Engineer-in-Chief of 
the (then American) Canton-Hankow Railway; as Interpreter, 
he was engaged in land purchases and other preliminary work, 
from which he emerged a wiser and a richer man. This was 
in 1905 ; in the following year he had blossomed out into a 
mandarin of the fourth rank and was acting as Confidential 
Secretary for Foreign Affairs to the Viceroy Ts'en Ch'un- 
hsiian, a very different Wen, in mind, body and estate, from the 
fighting reformer of three years before. He won the favour 
of the Viceroy (a Kuangse man) and of other high officials 
by the part he played, with consummate skill, in the intrigues 
at Peking which brought about the impeachment of T'ang 
Shao-yi and his removal from his lucrative posts at the 
Ministry of Communications in the spring of 1907. Wen's 



path to fortune was now clear. In June of the following 
year he was appointed Assistant Resident of Thibet, where 
he served the Throne with much tact and ability, winning 
golden opinions on all sides. The outbreak of the Revolution 
found him once more at Shanghai, where, shrewdly 
anticipating the collapse of the Manchus, he boldly threw in 
his lot with the Republican stalwarts. The part which he 
had played against T'ang Shao-yi was not forgotten, however, 
by the T'ung Meng-hui, and Wen Tsung-yao's claims to 
distinction were ignored by Sun Yat-sen's Provisional 
Government at Nanking. In June, he declined T'ang 
Shao-yi's proposal that he resume duty in Thibet, and is now 
understood to share the views of the Constitutional party. 
But in China the test of political merit is success, and 
public opinion sees nothing reprehensible in the tactics of the 
Vicar of Bray. In private life, Wen Tsung-yao is an 
extremely sympathetic person of engaging manners and 

t'ang shao-yi. 

Of T'ang Shao-yi, that highly complex and fascinating 
personality, it is more difficult to speak. Around him, the 
best-loved and the best-hated of China's notable men, the 
faction fights wax fiercest. Judging from personal experience, 
I cannot but think that much of the criticism which has 
been directed against him in the matter of the Four 
Nations " loan negotiations, and his subsequent flight from 
Peking and the Premiership, has failed to take into account 
a peculiar trait in his character, for which his Chinese 
intimates had learned to make allowance. I mean a certain 
tendency to sudden disenchantment, a petulance of discour- 
agement, which left him abruptly weary of the sordid 
ungrateful world of politics and all its intrigues. His 
buoyant enthusiasms, frequentty born of utter naivete of 
vision, were apt to produce in his alert and ambitious nature 



sharp crises of reaction. Of the charges of venality that 
have been piibhcly brought against him by his own 
countrymen it is unnecessary to speak, for the simple reason 
that, in a country where peculation of public funds is the 
rule and not the exception, such charges denote merely an 
unusual fierceness in the parties' struggle for place and power. 
In his conduct of foreign loan negotiations in the past — and 
he has handled more than any other official in China — no 
definite charge of corruption had been made against him : 
which is more than can be said for his predecessors or suc- 
cessors in office. In the handling of negotiations, financial 
and political alike, T'ang always displayed a decided 
tendency to Oriental " slimness " which, by European 
standards, came very near to chicanery. Newly arrived 
diplomats and financiers, much impressed by his American 
frankness of manner and apparent knowledge of affairs, were 
disposed to regard him and his work as constituting a radical 
departure from the traditions of the Waiwupu : but they 
learned before long to revise that opinion. T'ang's methods 
were constructed of purely Oriental material, with a work- 
manlike surface polish of Occidental origin. 


The bankers of the " Four Nations " group and their 
respective Legations poured out upon the head of T'ang 
Shao-yi the vials of their wrath in the matter of the Belgian 
loan. The breach of faith was certainly undeniable ; but the 
bankers' representatives were no novices in Chinese diplo- 
macy (the Germans, in particular, had witnessed similar 
incidents with equanimity and sometimes with profit), and 
their professed belief in Yuan Shih-k'ai's complete ignorance 
of T'ang's proceedings was as disingenuous as the Chinese 
plea of injured innocence. The Times correspondent at 
Peking, voicing official opinions, described the breach of faith 



as " a blunder for which T'ang Shao-yi was wholly respon- 
sible," but as Yuan himself had signed the Belgian loan 
agreement on the 14th of March, this conclusion assumes 
incredible carelessness on the part of the President and 
equally incredible audacity on the part of his Premier. 
Gauged in the light of all previous experience, the incident 
was merely an exposition of traditional Chinese statecraft, 
of the inveterate policy of "setting one barbarian against 
another." It failed because, for once, the Powers concerned 
were prepared to take united action ; but there is reason to 
believe that T'ang fully expected that the Russian Govern- 
ment, which was behind the so-called Belgian loan, would 
be able to induce the French financiers to abandon the Four 
Nations " group. The hostility of the Banks and Legations, 
combined with the attacks made upon his financial adminis- 
tration by the bolder spirits of the Tung Yi-tang in the 
Advisory Council, produced in T'ang Shao-yi a crisis 
of resentment which ended in his abrupt departure from 
Peking in June, his resignation of the Premiership, and the 
subsequent withdrawal of his T'ung Meng-hui colleagues in 
the Ministry. Here again, the petulance of his conduct and 
its deplorable lack of dignity are undeniable ; but headlong 
impulsiveness has always been a marked trait, and not the 
least engaging, of T'ang Shao-yi's character. His enthusiasms, 
his splendid energy and talents, have fallen short of great 
achievements by reason of the Oriental's lack of sustained 
and purposeful will power — a defect of the race. 

In narrating the growth of the Republican movement, I 
have described T'ang's bad faith in serving the Imperial cause ; 
of the innermost aspect of that matter, however, it is difficult 
for the spectator to judge. Public opinion, amongst the 
Chinese, saw nothing to condemn in it, and Yuan himself, 
either for public or for private reasons, condoned the offence. 
All the dealings and relations of the Chinese in matters 
political are so instinct with duplicity that our attempts to 
define individual responsibilities and motives must fail. To 



this feature of Tang Shao-yi's character I need not return : 
but in justice to him, it must be admitted that even at the 
height of his metropohtan career and before the downfall of 
Yuan, he made no secret of his Radical propensities ; whilst 
those who know him best have always felt that the interests 
and sympathies of his native province would mean more to 
him in a crisis than any other allegiance. The Regent's 
colossal blunder in wreaking vengeance on Yuan and his 
adherents merely served to increase the Cantonese party's 

As exemplifying T'ang Shao-yi's diplomatic methods, the 
following incident is instructive. In November, 1907, he was 
Governor of Moukden, having been ousted from his lucrative 
posts at Peking and sent to Manchuria to help the Viceroy 
(Hsii Shih-ch'ang) in resisting the encroachments of the 
Japanese in that difficult and dangerous post. T'ang's 
masterful personality soon dominated the situation, the 
V^iceroy willingly playing second fiddle. It was part of 
T'ang Shao-yi's policy to head off Japan's schemes by the 
establishment of British and American vested rights and 
interests, especially in the matter of railways and mines. 
The device of setting one barbarian against another is the 
ancient corner-stone of all China's policy, but his methods of 
applying it were marked by qualities of intelligent anticipation 
and mastery of detail very rare in China. (It may here be 
remarked that, had it not been for the death of the Empress 
Dowager and the subsequent downfall of Yuan Shih-k'ai, 
T'ang's carefully laid plans and his mission to Washington 
in 1898-9 would assuredly have effected important changes, 
advantageous to China, in the critical position of affairs which 
he found in Manchuria). 


Part of his scheme for arresting Japan's policy of 
peaceful penetration," her conquests by railway and bank, 



consisted in enlisting the assistance of British contractors 
and capital for the construction of a railway to connect 
Hsiu-Min-t'un with Fakumen — a line which he intended 
subsequently to extend northwards to Tsitsihar — thus 
developing a vast and fertile region for the benefit of the 
Chinese Northern Railway system and Tientsin, instead of 
allowing it to be exploited by the Japanese for the advantage 
of the South Manchurian line and Dalny. Acting 
as the representative of British capitalists, I happened to be 
engaged in negotiations with T'ang Shao-yi for the financing 
of the proposed railway, and on the night of November the 
20th, the terms having been settled, we met to sign and 
contract at the Moukden Governor's Yamen. Prior to 
signature, we took dinner in one of the new and hideous 
foreign " apartments of the Yamen. We talked, I 
remember, of Egyptian monuments (the Viceroy's hobby 
being archaeology) and of cat- worship ; of an unidentified 
beast of the hippopotamus tribe declared by T'ang to 
frequent the great marshes of the Sungari ; of American 
agricultural methods for Mongolia — of everything and 
anything, in fact, except local politics. After dinner, five of 
T'ang's children came in, and the eldest of his daughters 
was told to play the piano. Our feelings, as we listened, 
were mixed ; divided between sympathy for a father so 
justifiably proud of his Young China, and sorrow for 
poor Schumann. Before midnight, the fateful contract 
was signed. At this point, it occurred to me to inquire 
whether Japan might not be expected to offer serious 
objections to the scheme and to block the issue of the 
Imperial Edict required for its final sanction. To this, T'ang 
Shao-yi replied that he had carefully considered every possible 
difficulty and was convinced that no apprehension need be 
felt on this score. The subsequent history of the Fakumen 
Railway, and Japan's final veto of the enterprise, are matters 
of history and common knowledge. What is not known, 
however, is the fact that, at the moment when T'ang Shao-yi 



put his signature to the contract, he had in his boot ^ a copy 
of an official despatch, addressed to the Waiwupu by the 
Japanese Minister at Peking, informing them that the Chinese 
scheme for building this line had come to the knowledge of 
the Japanese Government, and that any conclusion of negotia- 
tions in the matter would require to be preceded by its 
expressed consent, as an interested party. When, some 
three weeks after the signature of the agreement, the exist- 
ence of this despatch came to my knowledge, 1 asked T'ang 
Shao-yi for the explanation of his apparently gratuitous bad 
faith. He was in no wise perturbed by the exposure of his 
methods. On the contrary, he suggested that I also must 
have been well aware of the Japanese Government's attitude 
in the matter, for did not the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of 
Alliance stipulate that Japan should fully and frankly 
consult with Great Britain in any case where her special 
interests were affected ? And if the British Legation knew 
of the Japanese protest, surely they would not leave British 
agents in the dark. T'ang was well aware, of course, that 
there had been no " full and frank " consultation — he knew 
that the British Minister at Peking was not even informed 
of the objects which Japan intended to attain by the supple- 
mentary articles attached to the Peking Treaty of December, 
1905. Those who profess to wonder and sorrow at the bad 
faith shown by Republican China in the recent loan negotia- 
tions may do well to remember that Yuan Shih-k'ai was 
a party to the elementary duplicity of this Fakumen 

T'ang Shao-yi's poHtics and diplomacy conform, in fact, to 
the Oriental traditions — as inevitably they must. His 
personality represents the most interesting variety of what 
is emphatically an exotic and artificial type. Education at 
Harvard or Oxford may imbue the Chinese student with 
ideas and social tendencies apparently antagonistic to those 

^ Chinese officials in mandarin costume carry papers in their wide knee- 



of the patriarchal system of his native land ; but they do not, 
and cannot, create in him (as some would have us believe) 
the Anglo-Saxon's outlook on life, the standards of conduct 
and the beliefs which are the results of centuries of our pro- 
cess of civihsation and structural character. Under his top 
dressing of Western learning, the Chinese remains true to 
type, instinctively detached from the practical and scientific 
attitude, contemplatively philosophical, with the fatalistic 
philosophy of the prophet Job, concerned rather with the 
causes than the results of things. Your barrister of Lincoln's 
Inn, after ten years of cosmopolitan experience in London 
or Washington, will revert in six months to the ancestral 
type of morals and manners ; the spectacle is so common, 
even in the case of exceptionally assimilative men like Wu 
Ting-fang or the late Marquis Tseng, that it evokes little or 
no comment amongst Europeans in China. It need not 
surprise us, therefore, if Young China's display of Western 
learning and Western manners suggests, in many of its 
manifestations, a precocious youngster's pride in showing off 
new clothes or new accompHshments — fearful, but quickly- 
fading, joys that, passing, leave him at heart a mandarin. 
T'ang Shao-yi, though head and shoulders above the average 
of foreign-educated Chinese in education and breadth of 
mind, displays this characteristic of his class. He loves to 
play to the gallery, to epater le bourgeois, his bourgeois being 
either his mandarin colleagues or the foreign Ministers, 
according to the moods and opportunities of the moment. 
It was never difficult for him, with his fluent command of 
English and wide experience of foreign lands, to impress his 
remarkable personality on the fossilised literati of Peking as 
a new and strange force in metropolitan politics ; but he 
succeeded at the same time in commanding the unstinted 
admiration, if not the unswerving loyalty, of the Cantonese 
progressives, whilst European diplomacy, after 1900, came 
speedily to recognise in him a master-hand. Brilliant and 
forcible, he combines the free-and-easiness of an American 



with the dignity and elusive sublety of the Oriental ; frank 
democratic sans-gene with the classical Jiauteur of the 
mandarin, and he knows, with intuitive genius, the manners 
and methods to adopt with all sorts and conditions of men. 
And withal, because he is himself of the people, of a race 
*that will commit suicide to gratify a pique or passion, he can- 
not rid himself of the naive vanity and susceptibility to 
sudden reactions of which I have spoken ; and this, despite 
a perfectly sincere and natural modesty. Love of power, 
and the admiration of his fellow-men, are as the breath of 
his nostrils, the goal for which he labours unceasingly ; yet 
his largeness of heart, his capacity for friendship, his love of 
flowers and children, books and rare porcelain, his simple 
tastes and patriarchal habits of life, all bespeak the philosophic 
mind. A highly complex personality, born in strange days 
and bred in strange ways ; a passionate theorist, straining at 
the gnats of real life and swallowing the camels of Utopia, 
his foreign politics are a blend of Chauvinism, tempered with 
expediency, even as his domestic life is a compromise between 
Western standards and China's patriarchal system. In 
internal politics, he displays all the clannishness of his people? 
his vigorous assertion of " China for the Chinese " being 
qualified in practice by scarcely concealed contempt for 
those who have not the good fortune to be Cantonese. His 
manifest faith in the capacity of the American-educated 
Cantonese to deliver China out of all her afflictions would be 
more convincing, it is true, if the loaves and fishes of office 
were more discreetly handled, and if he could point to some- 
thing definite in the way of regenerative effort. But Tang, 
like all educated Chinese, believes in the magic virtue of 
words and forms of government, in making a nation wise and 
strong by Acts of Parliament. He believes in his ready- 
made Republic (or did) as he believes in the sudden and 
complete abolition of opium. He believes (or did) in the 
vision of a new China, firmly united in bonds of patriotism. 
But, above all, he believes in the Cantonese as apostles of the 




new dispensation, and in himself, as the predestined leader 
of the Cantonese. 

Even in the face of disillusion and the doubts which 
overtook him last June, T'ang Shao-yi cannot afford to 
depart from the T'ung Meng-hui's programme of exuberant 
and ignorant patriotism. It is the common fate of Radical 
leaders that they must give hostages to Fortune not easily 
redeemed ; and T'ang, in accepting the Premiership as leader 
of the Cantonese extremists, gave many. The end is hard to 
foresee, but it is almost impossible to believe that the aims of 
North and South can be permanently reconciled. 

In private life, T'ang Shao-yi is noted for a liberality which 
borders on extravagance. At the height of his fortunes in 
1907, his house in Peking gave shelter and sustenance to 180 
persons — family, relatives and retainers — and he was then 
paying for the education of seven nephews in England and 
America. His house was a caravanserai, a tribal warren ; 
and in the midst thereof, T'ang the Radical Republican, 
arch-enemy of the Manchus, Young China's chief dreamer of 
dreams, lived and moved, like a patriarch, seeking relief 
from the cares of State in the pleasures of his chaotic 
domesticity, in his curios, flowers and books. In him, and 
in his house, the antagonistic social systems of East and 
West have waged unceasing conflict ; and the result is a 
highly complex and interesting personality. 


Of Wu Ting-fang, Wen Tsung-yao and T'ang Shao-yi, I 
speak from personal acquaintance, and my misgivings 
concerning their political theories and practice are tempered 
by many pleasant memories of friendly social relations. Of 
Sun Yat-sen, the perambulating Conspirator-in-Chief of the 
Radical Republicans, I can only form an opinion by the 
hght of his published writings and speeches, and by the 
sentiments which he inspires in his followers. I have already 



referred to Dr. Cantlie s description of the man.^ It is an 
unrestrained panegyric and frank expression of hero-worship, 
and evidently of little value as a critical study of the 
reformer and his work, Young China being therein idealised 
out of all recognition. Sun Yat-sen is undoubtedly a 
sympathetic and, in many respects, an admirable character, 
unselfish, patriotic and courageous, imbued with an un- 
swerving faith in his own ideals and untiring energy in their 
pursuit. His sincerity, personal honesty, and determination 
of will stand out in welcome relief against the sordid back- 
ground of contemporary Chinese politics. 

In many ways he recalls the character of Danton. He is 
more of a visionary and idealist than the great Jacobin, and 
less of a politician ; but he resembles him in the restless and 
energetic temperament of the born conspirator. Like him, 
he is no believer in promiscuous bloodshed, and recognises 
the necessity for soothing and allaying the lawless spirit of 
insurrection evoked by the Revolution, and for reconciling 
civil hatreds in the State. He has all Danton's incapacity 
for practical administration, combined with his optimistic 
belief in the reformation of humanity by force of institutions, 
and a robust faith in himself as the Heaven-sent Reformer. 
But here the resemblance ends. The methods by which 
Sun Yat-sen would set China's house in order are peculiarly 
his o\Mi ; they reflect an almost European ignorance of 
Chinese history and the dreamer's disregard for everything 
which fails to square with his own hypotheses and ideals. 

There can be no doubt as to his considerable influence 
with the Radical extremists of the Cantonese party, and 
especially with the politically-active Chinese communities 
overseas. His personal relations with the latter class, from 
which have been drawn most of the funds of the T'ung 
Meng-hui, is in itself sufficient to account for his ascendancy 
with the small clique of youthful politicians which success- 

^ Sun Yat-sen and the Awakening of China. By James Cantlie and C. 
Sheridan Jones. (Jarrold.) 



fully forced through the abolition of the Monarchy. In 
addition to the prestige which he enjoys in the eyes of 
Young China as a much-travelled and well-educated man, 
the personal magnetism to which many observers have 
testified, and a wide-spread reputation for sincerity and 
honesty, have sufficed to raise him well above the ordinary 
level of the place-seeking politicians. 

There is a certain large vagueness, a splendid indefiniteness 
about Dr. Sun Yat-sen's reform schemes that, were it not • 
for the naive sincerity of the man himself, would make them 
and him ridiculous. But he believes in himself, with the 
whole-souled and rapt belief of a child building sand-castles, 
and the valour of his ignorance is passing brave. He believes 
in universal suffrage and votes for Chinese women. He 
believes in Lloyd George and Henry George ; in the single 
tax and conscription ; in the nationalisation of railways ; 
and he promises the Chinese people (which hear him not) 
every kind of rare and refreshing fruit, to be produced 
without the formality of planting trees. The secret of his 
success in leading Europeans to believe in his capacity to 
make his dreams come true lies, I think, in his dignified 
imperturbability and gift of reticence, remarkably manifested 
on more than one dramatic occasion, and notably when 
bidding farewell to the Nanking Assembly upon his resigna- 
tion of the Presidency. His artless enthusiasm for ideals 
has by no means deprived him of the shrewd common sense 
of the Cantonese : his most fervent orations would be 
incomplete without taking up a collection for the good cause. 
Sincerely simple in his private life, he displays, nevertheless, 
a very democratic weakness for uniforms, ceremonies and 
processions ; a man of the people, yet he surrounds himself 
with suites and body guards and nests of parasitic admirers. 
Finally, he has learned in his travels abroad the gentle art of 
political advertising, together with a shrewd idea of the 
value of sensationalism in connection therewith. Like 
T'ang Shao-yi, lie knows how to epater son bourgeois ; 

225 Q 


witness his article in the Sti^and Magazine for March, 1912, 
a work of constructive memory as fantastic as the libretto of 
a musical comedy. The boyish bombast of his words and 
deeds is apt, indeed, to give us pause : as, for instance, when 
he engages " General " Homer Lea to organise the 
Republican army of China, or when he informs the British 
public that he " can count upon millions of followers 
who will follow him to the death, as they have followed his 

This sort of thing has alienated many of the moderate and 
sensible men who originally believed in the possibility of a 
Republic and in the capacity of the Cantonese to establish 
it. Apart from the increasing influence of the Moderate 
party (Kung Ho-tang), there are many evidences in the 
vernacular press that Dr. Sun Yat-sen's extravagances have 
produced a distinct reaction. On the 3rd of May, the most 
influential native paper in Shanghai (Sin wan pao) published 
a strong attack upon him in connection with the proposal of 
the Hongkong Chinese to give him a public welcome, and 
with the scheme for the erection at Peking of bronze statues 
in honour of the founders of the Republic. The editorial 
comment on the statue scheme was typical of Young China's 
attitude towards its leaders. It observed that " although 
Li was the prime mover at Wuchang, and Sun had long 
been imbued with the idea of Revolution, yet if, after the 
destructive work has been done, the work of construction 
should fail, the future opinion as to whether they will be 
designated ' chief leaders ' or dubbed ' chief culprits ' cannot 
at present be gauged." Much adverse criticism has also 
been directed against him for surrounding himself with 
Japanese financial agents and political adventurers. 

Nevertheless, the Tung Meng-hui (or Kuo-Min-tang) 
is still a power in the land and Sun Yat-sen is its chief. 
Both facts are due to his unswerving devotion to what he 
believes to be the cause of reform, and to his splendid faith 
in that cause, and in himself. 




I HAVE already referred to the separatist tendencies 
created in the inhabitants of the South Eastern provinces, 
by geographical and other conditions ; but the inveterate 
spirit of locahty which, according to Mill, constitutes one of 
the strongest hindrances to progress in civihsation and free 
institutions, distinguishes, in a greater or less degree, the 
whole Chinese race. 

Under the ancient system of government, the masses of 
the people were but remotely concerned in the activities of 
the central administration. Authorities, central and pro- 
vincial, interfered but little with the ordered round of life in 
the town and village communities. From afar, these 
recognised and respected the Throne as the centre of the 
Confucianist system, holding to the unity of the family and 
the State as to a fundamental axiom of existence : for the 
rest, they managed their own affairs in accordance with 
time-honoured customs, by the Canons of the Sages, by the 
authority of parents and elders, and by simple expedients of 
rudimentary local self-government. The spirit of locality 
was deeply ingrained, but it had, as a rule, no cause for 
violently asserting itself. The governments which came 
and went, the dynasties that won and lost the Dragon 
Throne, were passively accepted as part of the established 
order of the universe, but their functions of government, 

227 Q 2 


except at crises of rebellion or famine, rarely disturbed the 
even tenour of the people's way. Soldiers and police alike 
remained unknown to most of the inhabitants of the 
interior ; no agent or official of the Government, except 
the gatherers of the annual land tax, required anything of 
them. In this sense, Professor Giles is justified in describing 
China as " a great democracy, living in the greatest Republic 
the world has ever seen." But when he invests these 
localised self-governing Chinese communities with a keen 
sense and jealous regard of national (as distinct from local) 
liberties, he ignores the fact that the physical conditions 
hitherto prevailing throughout the interior of China, have 
effectively prevented the formation and propagation of that 
public opinion by which alone national sentiments can be 
evoked and maintained. This error is common to many 
recent writers, who assume for the inarticulate impassive 
masses a definite share and sympathy in the political 
activities of Young China, and who believe them capable, 
because of their ancient local independence, of adopting 
representative institutions and a Republican form of 
government. But it must, 1 think, be evident that such 
forms of democratic self-government as have obtained in 
China for many centuries, have been primarily due to the 
fact that no administrative authority of the Throne could 
possibly have been made effective throughout so vast an 
Empire under the physical conditions then existing. Local 
autonomy ensued naturally from the inability of successive 
dynasties to exercise anything approaching to an organised 
public administration. The Throne ruled, but did not 
assume to govern. Beyond the bounds of the city and 
village communities, there could be nothing in the nature of 
regulated popular government. The Throne's authority 
rested in the last resort upon moral force ; owing to physical 
obstacles, it never possessed the machinery for the collection 
of taxes sufficient to maintain armed forces and to assert a 
supreme authority of administration. Such powers and 



revenues as the central and provincial authorities enjoyed 
were the result of voluntary obedience of the people to an 
order long established, and to indirect taxation along the lines 
of least resistance. That China has held together so long 
and, on the whole, so well, as a homogeneous Empire must be 
attributed to the inherent strength of the moral foundations 
laid by the Sages, of those teachings which have formed the 
innermost soul of the people. More effectively than by the 
loose ties of feudalism which bound together locally 
autonomous communities under European monarchs in 
the Middle Ages, the unity of the Chinese nation has been 
preserved, first by the " Three Relations " of the Confucian 
philosophy, and, later, by the statecraft which instituted the 
system of public service examinations as a permanently 
cohesive agent. By this means, the eighteen provinces 
were educated and maintained in a common heritage of 
national philosophy, ethics, literature, laws and history, and, 
through it, they attained to a common interest in the pro- 
vision of national legislators and officials. Their rights 
and opportunities of local self-government formed an 
essential part of the Confucian system, arising directly from 
the principle of parental authority. These local rights are 
fiscal as well as penal and administrative, and from their 
exercise have arisen, in all parts of the country, the capacity 
to combine for common ends and instinctive respect for law 
and order. But it is precisely in the strength of the local 
autonomy thus created and perfected, that lies the insuper- 
able obstacle to the imposition on the nation of representa- 
tive government of the modern European type. From the 
same cause springs an atavistic local antagonism to every 
innovation — such as Railways, or the opening of mines, or 
the appointment of Imperial officers to supervise the working 
of self-government Regulations — which threatens State 
interference with existing ways, or new burdens of responsi- 
bihty and taxation. 




A nationality," says Herbert Spencer, " is made possible 
only by the feeling which the units have for the whole they 
form." Compared with the militant patriotism of races 
whose units are capable of making adequate sacrifices to 
protect and preserve their body politic, the Chinese national 
sentiment is essentially of a passive and philosophic order, 
but it is none the less real. Pride of race and pride of 
civilisation are their inheritance, an innate respect for the 
scheme of things Celestial which implies, if it does not 
actively express, an attitude of condescension towards the 
outer barbarian. This pride of race is intimately associated 
in the minds of the people with the Confucian philosophy 
and ancestor- worship ; so intimately, that the fanatical 
iconoclasm of Young China must either bring about its own 
undoing or mean " To your tents, O Israel ! " for the Sons 
of Han. The proposal of the Ministry of Agriculture to 
convert the Temple of Heaven into a model farm is only 
one of many omens which foreshadow either the end of 
Young China, or the passing of the national sentiments 
which have hitherto constituted China's form of patriotism. 
The decision of the Radicals of Canton to render no more 
official homage to Confucius, synchronised with the resolu- 
tion of the Advisory Council in Peking to eliminate the 
religious clauses from the programme of the Ministry of 
Education on the ground that the State is not concerned 
with religious matters ; these also are straws which mark 
the first gusts of a fierce wind of destruction. This 
way madness lies. Confucianism, based on the 
monarchical principle, is evidently incompatible with the 
crude Republicanism of Sun Yat-sen ; but to attempt 
to eradicate it is to deprive the nation of its sheet 
anchor and to invite disaster. Take from the Chinese 
" Heaven and our ancestors," and neither Constitution nor 



Presidential Mandates can save the nation from anarchy. 
That the RepubHcan leader should even propose such things 
confirms Prince Ito's dictum that the sentiments of foreign- 
educated Young China are hopelessly out of touch with the 

For the reason that the national sentiments of the Chinese 
race, the bonds that hold the eighteen provinces together, 
have their roots in Confucianism and the monarchical 
principle, it was inevitable that the latent tendency towards 
provincial autonomy should be increased by the Revolution. 
The Chinese have no rooted objection to a change of rulers, 
but as a race, they are instinctively opposed to any change in 
the form of their government and of the principles on which 
it rests. Meadows expressed this idea lucidly when he said 
that of all races that have attained to a certain degree of 
civilisation, the Chinese are the least revolutionary and the 
most rebellious." 


The tendency of the local self-government rights of the 
people to develop in the direction of provincial autonomy 
became markedly increased after the year 1900, partly 
because of the dynasty's incapacity to rule, but even more 
because of the introduction of railways, and because of the 
attempt to centralise government finance in the matter of 
foreign loans. Before the coming of the railway and the 
circulation of newspapers in the interior, the several provinces 
were members of one body politic by reason of their common 
heritage and traditions, but there was practically no com- 
munity of economic interests and comparatively little 
occasion for economic strife among them. To the Hupeh 
man, Hunan represented definite ideas of propinquity and 
direct trading, but Kansuh and Yunnan were little more than 
geographical names. Shantung was the birthplace of 
pedlars in furs, Shansi the ancestral home of bankers, 



Kuangtung the far-off land from whence came the devasta- 
ting hordes of the Taipings, Anhui the breeding ground of 
famine refugees, and ChihU the abode of tribute-eating 
Bannermen. All (except perhaps the Cantonese) were 
sons of Han, and therefore blood-brethren of the Middle 
Kingdom ; but the idea of brotherhood was a vague con- 
ception at best, because of the physical and educational 
obstacles to inter-communication, and differences of the 
spoken language. 

The coming of the railway and the rapid growth of the 
vernacular Press meant the formation and propagation of a 
public opinion where none had previously existed. This 
opinion, diligently stimulated by the literati and gentry in 
the first instance, and later by Young China, was immediately 
directed along lines of resistance to Peking's policy of 
financial centralisation. The period of railway development, 
in the hands of foreign concessionaires, foreshadowed by the 
" spheres of influence " scramble and the Battle of Con- 
cessions in 1898, but checked by the Boxer rising in 1900, 
may be said to have definitely begun in 1903, with the con- 
clusion of the Shanghai-Nanking Railway Agreement. It 
synchronised ^dth the first signs of expansion in the 
Central Government's efforts to extract from the provinces 
the additional revenues required to meet the heavy Boxer 
indemnities, and to defray the cost of army reorganisation 
and other reform schemes. It synchronised with a period in 
which the provincial authorities had resorted to every 
possible device, including the minting of debased coinage, to 
supply the demands of Peking, and had, as usual, levied 
additional exactions, for their own benefit, on every trade and 
industry within their reach. The building of railways with 
foreign capital not only meant, from the provincial point of 
view, new and lucrative opportunities ; it opened up 
questions of control and inter-provincial mining rights and 
lekin levies. Thus stimulated, the spirit of locality took on 
new forms and substance ; in every province the conserva- 



tive instincts of the people were used by the educated class 
to create resistance to the construction of railways except 
under such conditions as should give the local gentry and 
officials direct control of the loan funds and of the manage- 
ment of the lines when built. This resistance was organised 
in every instance on patriotic grounds, the people being led 
to believe that the construction of railways with foreign 
capital foreshadowed territorial aggression and other evils, 
but in every instance, as the results proved, the real objective 
was to secure opportunities of patronage and profit for the 
local gentry and Provincial Bureaus, as opposed to the 
Ministry of Communications. And this provincial oppo- 
sition was organised, and became in a certain sense national, 
by reason of the ceaseless campaign conducted by Young 
China in the Press of the Treaty Ports, a campaign which 
aimed not only at preventing any further railway or mining 
construction by foreign concessionaires, but which demanded 
that the Government should endeavour to regain control of 
the concessions already granted. The cry of "sovereign 
rights " was heard on every side, and the activities of the 
British Minister at this period were principally engaged in 
protesting to the Waiwupu against breaches of agree- 
ment by the provincial authorities and self-government 


For a strictly disinterested and patriotic campaign there 
would, indeed, have been more than sufficient justification. 
The history of the Cassini Convention and the Eastern 
Siberian Railway provided Young China with a good text ; 
the venality of Li Hung-chang and his adherents had 
undoubtedly sold the Imperial birthright in Manchuria and 
opened up the path of the invader. In Shantung, the 
Chinese authorities found themselves confronted with a 
German-built railway, which (at that time) denied them the 



right to carry the Imperial mails through Chinese territory. 
Sheng Hsuan-huai's handling of the Shanghai-Nanking 
Railway loan affair had been notoriously corrupt. His 
negotiations in 1898, for the construction of the Canton- 
Hankow Railway, conducted with a company, Belgian in 
appearance but Russian in its political origin, had fore- 
shadowed a repetition of the Manchurian situation in the 
Yangtsze provinces. The Russian policy of railway con- 
struction, which brought with it a right of way for the Cossack, 
had achieved its rapid success because of the incompetence 
and corruption of the Central Government. Before the 
Boxer rising, the conquest of China by Railway and Bank 
plainly foreshadowed, by its creation of " spheres of 
influence," the partition of the Empire. Young China, 
greatly stimulated by Japan's victory over Russia, and by 
the consequent suspension of the spheres of interest regime, 
had plenty of material ready to its hand for proving con- 
clusively that foreign Railway Concessions were a danger to 
the State. The Hunanese party led the way, rightly 
enough insisting that, so long as foreigners in China can 
claim extra-territoriality, the granting of Railway Con- 
cessions with rights of control (like those enjoyed by the 
Germans in Shantung, the Russians in Manchuria and the 
French in Yiinnan) must mean, sooner or latter, the 
extinction of China's sovereignty. The Hunanese party's 
method of approaching the question was marked, as usual, 
by conservatism and ignorance of the real necessities of the 
situation, but they were instrumental in calling attention to 
the dangers arising from Chinese State undertakings con- 
trolled by foreigners. On purely provincial lines, they 
opposed Sheng Kung-pao's arrangements for the construction, 
through Hunan, of the Hankow-Canton Railway, as a 
Franco- Belgian undertaking, and insisted either that the 
original American concession should be cancelled, or that the 
American Government should guarantee the maintenance of 
undivided American responsibility for the construction of 



the line as a Chinese Railway. As no such guarantee was 
forthcoming, the Hunanese, supported by the Progressives of 
Kuangtung, pressed for annulment of the Concession. 
This was arranged in September, 1905, the American 
Government of the day being only too glad to rid itself of 
any further connection with a business that had been dis- 
creditable from the outset. The recovery of China's 
sovereign rights over this important trunk line, coinciding 
with the defeat of Russia and the relaxation of her pressure 
in the North, was the signal for a tremendous outburst of 
patriotic enthusiasm and energy on the part of Young 
China ; and in every province the question of railways and 
mines occupied a prominent position in the programme of 
"China for the Chinese." The cancellation of the Canton- 
Hankow Railway Concession was a notable triumph, not 
only for Chang Chih-tung and the sincere patriots of his 
following, but for the provinces, which, seeing the lucrative 
possibilities of railway construction, were organising a 
determined resistance to Peking's policy of centralisation. 
In the disastrous consequences of the regime of Li Hung- 
chang and Sheng Kung-pao, Young China found to its hand 
an irrefutable argument against any further dealings between 
the Central Government and Western financiers, and pro- 
claimed it as affording sufficient ground for demanding the 
cancellation of all other concessions in foreign hands. 
Provincial Railway Bureaus, organised as a rule by the local 
gentry, sprang up on every side with the definitely expressed 
intention of jealously preserving provincial rights in the 
matter of railway construction. Foreign loans proposed by 
Peking became anathema from Canton to Tientsin. 


There were two forces at work in the popular agitations thus 
created. One was undoubtedly, though not disinterestedly, 
progressive. The other was simply a new presentment 



of the East's conservative resistance to the materialism 
of the West. JNIany of the Chinese officials and journalists 
who waxed enthusiastic at the prospect of Chinese railways 
to be built with Chinese capital and Chinese engineering, 
were perfectly well aware that no such results could 
possibly be attained by the provincial Bureaus ; but they 
hoped, by vetoing all foreign loans, to block railway con- 
struction in their particular provinces and thus to keep at 
arm's length the foreigner and all his uncomfortable 

It would require a volume to set forth the history of the 
railway question in the provinces after 1906, and of the 
impetus given to provincial autonomy by successive 
manifestations of the Central Government's inability to 
handle it satisfactorily. The Cantonese who, under the 
leadership of T'ang Shao-yi, became charged at that time 
with most of the Central Government's administrative and 
diplomatic work in connection with railways, were in their 
hearts supposed to sympathise more with the provincial 
than with the metropolitan point of view. At all events, 
under their administration, the attitude of the Provincial 
Bureaus became steadily more and more aggressive, while 
the position of the Minister of Communications became 
more and more helpless and undignified. At an early stage of 
what we may call Peking's final effi^rt to establish a centralised 
system of State railways and mines, it became clear, and has 
since been repeatedly demonstrated, that the patriotic 
agitation against the Central Government's foreign loans 
was nothing more than an expression of the provinces' 
determination to handle their own railways and railway 
finance. The Government, represented by T'ang Shao-yi, 
attempted to conciliate the provinces and to meet them 
half way in the matter of foreign capital, by bringing steady 
pressure to bear on the European bankers and by gradually 
eliminating the financial supervision and other safeguards 
heretofore imposed for the protection of the bondholders. 



With consummate skill T'ang availed himself of the inter- 
national jealousies of the Powers and the complaisance of 
cosmopolitan financiers to obtain loans under conditions 
which practically gave the Chinese officials a free hand in 
the expenditure of the funds, and which therefore allowed 
the Central Government to treat the Provincial Bureaus 
with easy-going liberahty. The last agreements thus 
negotiated by T'ang Shao-yi, in 1908, were for the provision 
of capital to build two railways for which foreign concessions 
granted had been ten years before, viz., the Tientsin-P'ukou 
(Anglo-German) line and the Shanghai-Ningpo. As the 
result of Tang's stonewall tactics, of the British Legation's 
optimistic faith in Young China and still stronger faith in 
laisser-faire, and finally, of the active support rendered 
to the provincial cause by German political finance at 
Peking, these agreements were concluded by the elimina- 
tion of the safeguards which had, until then, been regarded 
as indispensable. At that time, the country was already 
strewn with the wreckage of badly administered and im- 
poverished Chinese railway companies, and filled with the 
mutual recriminations of their shareholders and directors. 
There was, it is true, one line then being built and ad- 
ministered by a Cantonese engineer without the aid of 
foreign capital or experts, to which the students and gentry 
could point in justification of their patriotic clamour : — 
namely the Peking-Kalgan line — but for this, the plans, the 
money and the technical training all came directly from the 
British-built Northern railways. There was nothing, either 
in the necessities of the situation or in recent experience, to 
justify recognition of the provinces' claims to handle foreign 
capital without restriction or supervision ; but British 
diplomacy, reflecting the complaisance of its cosmopolitan 
finance, consented to arrangements which were morally 
certain to weaken the Central Government's credit abroad 
and its authority at home. The results of the Shanghai- 
Ningpo Railway agreement were particularly significant 



for the programme of provincial autonomy (and as a direct 
consequence, the anti-Manchu movement) received herein 
its final impetus of enthusiasm. 


The gentry and students of Southern Chekiang, v^here 
the mountainous coast-lands narrow to the sea, have ever 
been noted for their turbulent and truculent disposition. 
On the Ch'ien Tang, as on the Pearl River, many of the 
inhabitants call themselves T'ang Jen (men of the T'ang 
dynasty) to this day, and profess to despise the sons of 
Han. In the autumn of 1905, fired by the example of the 
Hunanese in the matter of the Hankow-Canton Railway, 
and stimulated by the sovereign rights recovery " campaign 
successfully conducted against British mining enterprises in 
Szechuan, Anhui and Shansi, the Chekiang Provincial 
Bureau organised a strong provincial movement in the 
matter of the proposed Shanghai-Ningpo Railway, protest- 
ing not only against its construction with British capital, 
but against any interference in its management by the 
Board of Communications. In September of that year, 
the Peking Government, visibly intimidated by the seething 
cauldron of the South, and having learned to appreciate the 
accommodating quality of British diplomacy, instructed the 
Governor of Chekiang to " make arrangements with Sheng 
Kung-pao for cancellation of the British concession." This 
was done by the simple expedient of declaring the concession 
null and void. Negotiations for conclusion of the final loan 
agreement proceeded, nevertheless, in a leisurely fashion, 
between the Legation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ; 
but this did not prevent the Ministry of Commerce from 
recommending the Throne to cancel the original concession. 
The Throne took the advice and issued an Edict, authoris- 
ing the gentry of Chekiang to organise a Bureau for the 
construction of the railway. The Bureau set to work in hot 



haste, collected subscriptions, borrowed money and actually 
commenced a section of the line, during all of which opera- 
tions the British Minister was continually being reassured 
by the Waiwupu that the original concession was regarded 
by the Chinese Government as valid and binding. When 
Sheng Kung-pao at Shanghai, acting under Imperial Edict, 
officially notified the British Syndicate that their con- 
cession was cancelled, T'ang Shao-yi at Peking explained 
that the provincial proceedings were not to be taken 
seriously and that the agitation would soon die out for lack 
of funds. The British Legation cheerfully accepted the 
situation as thus presented. The truth of the matter, 
apparent to all concerned, but carefully ignored, was that 
the Chekiang provincials had defied the authority of the 
Government and that the Government was helpless. In 
May, 1907, the ex- Viceroy of Canton, T'sen Ch'un-hsuan, 
succeeded T'ang Shao-yi as President of the Board of 
Communications. Perceiving the dangers that must arise 
and multiply from further acquiescence in the defiant 
attitude of Chekiang, he asked the Throne to issue, and was 
himself prepared to enforce, an Edict authorising him to 
bring the province to order. For that purpose, he had 
troops in readiness and ships under option of charter. If, 
at this critical point, the British Government had shown 
any signs of firmness in maintaining its own just rights and 
the authority of the Central Government, not only would 
Chekiang have been linked up, under British auspices, with 
the Kiangsu Railway system by a properly constructed 
railway, but a salutary check would have been given to the 
disorderly and undisciplined elements of Young China. 
The policy of centralisation in railway construction and 
finance was clearly the only one which held out any hopes 
of satisfactorily promoting the economic development of the 
Empire and of stemming the tide of disorganisation. Four 
years later this truth was recognised, and the moral support 
of the " Four Nations " Legations was extended to the 



Chinese Government in a desperate effort to retrieve, too 
late, the lost ground. But in 1907 British policy in China 
was drifting on the lifeless current of laissei^-faire^ and T'sen 
was therefore sacrificed to the hostility and intrigues of the 
provincials. The triumph of the Chekiang Bureau was 
complete. Peking, to save the remnants of its face, 
completed a foredoomed loan agreement with the British 
Company, and a sinecure British Engineer was appointed 
under the most humiliating conditions — but the Bureau 
would have neither the loan nor the Engineer. By the 
terms of the British agreement it was stipulated that the 
construction and control of the railway were to be " entirely 
vested in the Chinese Government," and that British 
materials were to enjoy preferential treatment at equal 
prices in the open market. The Provincial Bureau ignored 
the Ministry of Communications and showed its contempt 
for the loan agreement by publicly advertising, in connec- 
tion with a tender for rolling stock, that only locomotives 
of German make would be entertained ! 

Prior to the conclusion of the agreement, a deputation of 
delegates from Chekiang and Kiangsu had come to Peking, 
at the request of the Central Government, to state the 
provincial case against the foreign loan. On the 23rd of 
December, a meeting was held at which speeches were 
delivered by leading delegates. The Times correspondent 
described the meeting as " orderly, well conducted and well 
organised. The speakers insisted that no anti-foreign feeling 
inspired the agitation, but urged that the Central Govern- 
ment could not be permitted without protest in future to 
disregard the wishes of the provinces as they had done in 
the past. They emphasised the fact that the delegation thus 
summoned to discuss the question was the beginning of 
provincial representation in the capital and possibly the fore- 
runner of a Parliament." In commenting on the facts of 
the situation, the Correspondent observed that "foreign 
opinion here is that the British Government, while fully 



recognising the provincial grievance, must, for the credit of 
China herself, hold the Central Government to its obligations 
leaving it to settle its own dispute with the provinces." 

The British Government, however, pursued its policy of 
masterly inactivity, and the Central Government was help- 
less. On the 25th of December, it issued a pathetic Decree, 
forbidding irresponsible students, ignorant of the true 
question at issue and wholly blind to the facts, from holding 
meetings and sending telegrams to the Grand Council and 
the Ministers, directing them as to their duty." (Even 
school girls had addressed such messages to the central 
authorities.) This Decree was to be conspicuously displayed 
in all schools and colleges ! But the time for benevolent 
platitudes had gone — nothing but stern measures could now 
stem the rising tide of Young China's militant provincialism 
— and the strong hand was lacking. Every province in the 
Empire had realised that it could with impunity defy Peking, 
and the policy of centralisation was henceforth a forlorn hope. 

There was justification, as I have said, for the provincial 
attitude in Peking's record of Railway concessions, though 
in adopting it, the agitators made no allowance for the 
difficulty of the Central Government's position in its relations 
with Russia and other aggressive Powers. Had Young 
China, in assuming the right to control the construction of 
railways, as a question directly affecting the interests of the 
provinces, displayed administrative ability and honesty ; had 
it evolved a definite policy for the development of the 
country's economic resources by co-operation between the 
provinces and Peking, its action might have been justified 
by results. But the proceedings of the Chekiang Bureau 
soon showed that, as far as inefficiency and corrupt methods 
were concerned, provincial administration under unfettered 
local control had nothing to learn from the Ministry of 
Communications, whilst it suffered from an unsurmountable 
difficulty in its inability to raise foreign loans on independent 
provincial security. Every province in turn, after the 

241 R 


Chekiang Bureau's triumph over Peking, endeavoured by 
every possible device to secure foreign loans on its own 
account and without vexatious conditions of financial super- 
vision ; but here the Government held the whip hand, because 
of its formal declaration by Edict that provincial loans would 
not be recognised as Imperial liabihties. The efforts of the 
Provincial Bureaus to raise internal loans were naturally in 
vain : local sentiment was prepared to support its gentry and 
students against Peking or against foreign concessions, but 
it was not prepared to invest its savings in Railways under 
the control of Chinese Bureaus, however earnest the appeal. 
In certain instances, notably in Anhui and Szechuan, special 
local taxes were levied for purposes of railway construction, 
but the results were encouraging only for the tax collectors. 


The results of the Chekiang Bureau's vindication of 
provincial autonomy, typical in their way, were recorded 
by The Times correspondent at Peking in a despatch from 
Shanghai in February, 1909. They are still of interest 
sufficient to justify the following quotation : 

" At the time when the British contract was signed, work 
on the projected Railway had been proceeding in a desultory 
way for two years by two provincial companies, the Kiangsi 
Railway Company and the Chekiang Railway Company, 
whose combined capital was about £800,000. In these 
Companies only Chinese could hold shares, and only Chinese 
could be employed. With patriotic fervour, the Companies 
opposed China's signature of the foreign loan contract, but 
they were reconciled by an agreement made with them, that 
the loan proceeds would be transferred to their ownership in 
order to provide the funds required to complete their 
enterprise. By Imperial sanction, dated April 15th, the 
Ministry of Communications brushed aside the British 
agreement, and gave an undertaking that the Railway would 
be entirely under private, not official, management and that 



the Company's books would not be inspected. The effect of 
this transaction has been deplorable, every important stipula- 
tion of the loan contract has been violated. . . . The work 
has been badly and wastefuUy done. The native capital is 
exhausted, and shareholders, seeing no prospect of any return, 
have recently been offering their shares for sale at 70 per cent, 
of their face value. . . . Only Chinese are employed. On the 
Kiangsu section, the Chinese Engineer in charge has only a 
rudimentary knowledge of railway construction ; the 
Engineer on the Chekiang section is less incompetent, having 
been for one year at college in California. He is a son-in- 
law of the President of the Company. One Engineer in 
control of a section of twenty miles of railway has no 
engineering training, but owes his appointment to the fact 
that he was the favourite student of the President of the 
Company, who is a well known authority on the analects of 
Confticius. (Here follows a description of the Chinese 
methods and style of construction. ) " 

" Chinese funds having been exhausted, British money is 
now being squandered on this costly experiment. An 
official statement now before us shows that the proceeds of 
the £1,500,000 loan subscribed in England, in terms of the 
loan contract, only £355,000 remain in England for the 
purchase of materials; the remainder has been transferred to 
the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, Shanghai, where, by the 
terms of the loan agreement, funds thus transferred 'shall 
remain on deposit until required for railway purposes. . . . 
All requisitions thereon, to suit the progress of construction, 
shall be accompanied by certificates stating the nature and 
cost of the work to be paid for.' " 

"Disregarding these conditions, the Ministry of Com- 
munications had at the end of January withdrawn 
£215,833 in eighteen requisitions and lodged the amount in 
the native Bank belonging to the Ministry. The requisitions 
were not accompanied by certificates. At the time these 
amounts were handed over to the Yu Ch'uan-pu,^ their 

^ The funds, of course, should never have been handed over, but the 
British Bank, not being in the position of trustees for the bondholders, saw 
no reason to incur the hostility of the Ministry. This is a good and typical 
instance of the workings of cosmopolitan finance, unredeemed by any definite 

243 R 2 


President (Chen Pi) and seventeen members of his staff 
were under impeachment for thieving extraordinary. British 
investors lent them £1,500,000 for the construction, under 
British expert supervision, of a railway between populous 
cities. They surely did not foresee that their money was to 
be devoted to the construction of a railway such as I have 
described or be lodged in a native bank of questionable 

This frank exposition of the results of the first large-scale 
experiment in provincial autonomy, applied to railway 
construction in China, concluded with the hope that the 
British Government would "warn intending investors 
against lending money to China for railway construction 
without a clearly defined construction contract ensuring 
adequate supervision over construction and maintenance. 
Such warning would be opportune, for negotiations are 
again in progress to lend China, for the Hankow-Canton 
Railway, more millions of British money under conditions 
similar to those I have described above." 

The warning was not given. After some desultory 
questions in the House and a few sorrowful comments in the 
small section of the Press which concerns itself seriously 
with Imperial interests, the matter was forgotten in 
Downing Street, where indeed its significance was never 
realised. The Legation, accustomed to form its opinions 
in matters financial upon those of the institution which 
had for years enjoyed a monopoly of Foreign Office support, 
resumed its facile way along the primrose path of least 
resistance. Soon, under the influence of the new policy 
inspired from Berlin, official optimism was restored and its 
roseate hues duly reflected in the Press. The Chinese 
Government was to be advised and supported in a policy of 

British policy for the inteUigent use of British capital and protection of 
British interests. The Legation was naturally perturbed by the results of 
its new departure in loan agreements, but eventually reassured itself and 
others by the perfectly sound conclusion that Young China was now " upon 
its mettle." 



centralisation, taking into reasonable consideration the 
legitimate aspirations of the provinces. Cosmopolitan 
finance and Sheng Kung-pao were to join hands and together 
tread the golden way of compromise and mutual profits. 
All parties combined to assume not only the Chinese 
Government's good intentions, but its ability to carry them 
into immediate effect. 


But the example of Chekiang and the prestige of its achieve- 
ments had not been lost upon the students and gentry of 
other provinces. Nothing but horse, foot and artillery could 
now make a centralisation policy acceptable to those who 
had clearly realised the lucrative opportunities created under 
provincial autonomy. Chekiang had forced the Ministry of 
Communications to recognise its claim to build the Ningpo 
line as a provincial undertaking, without interference from 
Peking. Szechuan, Hunan and Hupeh, threatened with 
the construction of Government Railways through their 
borders, protested violently against the foreign loan negotia- 
tions conducted by Chang Chih-tung with the "Four 
Nations" group in the spring and summer of 1909. The 
students and gentry of Hunan and Hupeh warned Peking 
that they would resist the building of any railway unless the 
terms of the loan agreement were first submitted for the 
approval of the provinces." Here was Government by 
the Nursery," and Chang Chih-tung was much perturbed at 
the first fruits of the provincial autonomy which he himself 
had stoutly advocated (as a Chihli man acting on behalf of 
Chihli men) in the case of the Tientsin -P'ukou Railway 
loan. It is possible that, had he lived, he might have 
discovered a modus vivendi for pacifying Young China 
and dividing the loaves and fishes of railway construction. 
His prestige as Chinas greatest scholar and his un- 
questioned reputation for personal integrity undoubtedly 



carried great weight in the two provinces of the Hu Kuang 
\^iceroyalty, where he had served for nearly twenty 
years. It was, moreover, understood by his immediate 
entourage that he had evolved a scheme, generally 
acceptable to the provincial delegates at Peking and for 
which he hoped to obtain the approval of the Throne, 
whereby the profits and control of Government Railways 
would be divided between Peking and the provinces con- 
cerned upon a prearranged and fixed scale. Some such 
scheme had frequently been suggested to the Ministry of 
Communications ; the chief difficulty of introducing it arose 
from the fact that neither party could trust the other. 
Chang Chih-tung's good intentions were, however, frustrated 
by his death on the 4th of October, 1909. His successor, 
Hsii Shih-chang, an amiable and polished scholar of the old 
school, was quite incapable of attempting even to deal with 
such a situation. 

As in the case of the Shanghai- Ningpo Railway, the 
Szechuan Provincial Bureau claimed the right to oppose 
Peking's foreign loan proposals on the ground of its own 
vested interests and Imperially authorised activities. As 
far back as 1906, the agitation of the gentry for local 
autonomy in the matter of the Szechuan-Hupei Railway 
had assumed serious proportions, Chao Erh-feng^ having 
been appointed Director General of that line at the end of 
1904. The agitation was met in 1906 by the Governor- 
General, who, having collected some £60,000 from the 
patriotic gentry of the province, announced his intention of 
devoting the money to the establishment of a college for 
training railway engineers ; when these were forthcoming, 
he said, it would be time to commence the building of the 
Hne. The money was actually used for the purchase of 
minting machinery (a large portion of which was lost in the 
rapids of the Ichang gorges), and the agitation of the students 

^ This able and highly-respected Viceroy was murdered by the revolution- 
aries of Szechuan at Chengtu on the 22nd of December, 1911. 


Fkoto, Le Munyon, Peking. 

Cavalry Patrol outside Ch'iex Men, Peking. 

Photo. Le Munyon. Peking. 

Patrol of the Legaiion Guards through the City of Peking, to 
RESTORE Confidence after the Mutiny of Troops (March, 1912) 



and Progressives, many of whom really wished to see the 
railway built, broke out with renewed vigour. 


The situation bore further resemblance to that which had 
led to the triumph of the gentry at Chekiang, in that the 
Central Government continued its negotiations with the 
foreign financiers as if the opposition of the provinces 
were a negligible quantity. In the spring of 1911, Sheng 
Hsiianhuai, who had succeeded to the Presidency of the 
Ministry of Communications in January, proceeded, with 
the best wishes of the Four Nations " Legations and the 
support of Prince Ch'ing's Cabinet, to stiffen the policy of 
centralisation. The Central Government had come to the 
conclusion that, without a more effective control over the 
expenditure of loan funds, the foreign Governments and 
money markets would never agree to advance the vast sums 
required for all its schemes of reorganisation and reform. 
From every point of view, Sheng's policy was sound ; in fact, 
for reasons which the reader will ere this have appreciated, 
it offered the only hope of arresting the debacle of disintegra- 
tion. For its successful execution, however, two things were 
requisite — firstly, that the Government should have the 
courage and the cohesion to face the situation resolutely ; 
secondly, that the personal reputation of the Minister of 
Communications and Finance should be such as to satisfy the 
Moderates of the provinces that Peking was in earnest in this 
matter of reform. Until now, the strength of the provincial 
agitators' case had arisen from the undeniable fact that 
Peking's Railway administration was a hotbed of corruption. 
To this Peking replied, not without reason, that provincial 
administration could point to nothing but futility and flagrant 
dishonesty. An upright and fearless official at Peking might 
possibly have saved the situation in Szechuan. Sheng 
Kung-pao proved himself courageous enough, but unfortun- 



ately his personal record in the matter of honesty was 
deplorably bad. Familiarly known amongst his mtimates 
as the Old Fox," his corrupt practices had long been 
notorious. Working under a Cabinet which could boast of 
Prince Ch'ing as its Prune Minister, Sheng's every movement 
was necessarily suspect. His ability was recognised by 
foreigners and Chinese alike — he is one of the few Chinese 
officials living who understand the inner workings of European 
finance — but the provincial malcontents were not likely to 
forget his administration of the " China Merchants " Steamer 
Company or the Imperial Telegraphs. 

In May, 1911, Sheng's policy of centralisation had been 
clearly outlined and had received the sanction of the Throne. 
On the 18th of that month, The Times correspondent 
announced that '* after long vacillation, China is showing 
unexpected firmness in grappling with the provincial railway 
question." On the 9th, an Edict had been issued on Sheng's 
advice, proclaiming that, in future, all trunk lines were to be 
built by the Government, and that all those under private 
construction would now be resumed by the State ; the Throne 
had become convinced of the disorganisation and weakness 
resulting from the failure of the provincial companies' 
attempts at railway building. On the 18th, the Viceroy 
Tuan Fang was called from retirement and appointed 
Director-General of the Hukuang Railways. On the 20th, 
the fateful " Hukuang " agreement was signed, providing for 
a loan of £6,000,000 for the construction of a system of 
railways in Hunan and Hupeh, and secured on certain 
specified revenues of those provinces. Sheng's four months 
of office had been a period of strenuous activity and frenzied 
finance, and had increased China's liabilities, on paper, by 
seventeen and a half millions sterling. The Currency and 
Telegraph loans had not disturbed any vested interests of the 
provinces, but the Hukuang agreement, following on the 
momentous Edict of the 9th, was regarded as a direct 
challenge b}' every Provincial Assembly and Bureau in the 



country. At Canton, Changsha, Wuchang and Chengtu, 
the students and gentr^^ were clearly irreconcilable and pubHc 
opinion generally in a highly explosive condition. Every 
journalist of Young China protested against the action 
of the Government. The policy of centralisation was 
condemned, not only on its merits but on the ground that 
loans in the hands of Sheng and his adherents could never be 
for the benefit of the country, and would merely serve to 
fatten the metropolitan mandarins' purses whilst imposing 
new burdens on the provinces and new mortgages on their 
revenues. Similarly, although many of the shareholders in 
the Provincial Railway Companies would have consented 
mUingly enough to be bought out under equitable conditions, 
none were willing to trust Sheng Kung-pao to treat them 
equitably — the experience of the Telegraph shareholders 
constituted a sufficient warning. 


On the face of it, the Goverment's scheme was sensible, 
equitable and necessary. It was ruined, as usual in China, 
for want of mutual confidence and common honesty. Hunan 
and Hupeh might possibly have been pacified, for in those 
provinces the provincial companies' bonds were to be paid in 
full — but the Szechuan Railway Bureau fiercely resented the 
proposal that the funds which it had embezzled should only 
be made good by the Central Government out of the future 
profits of the line. This they considered intolerable, but 
when it came to be reported that Sheng had been privately 
buying up the Szechuan Company's bonds on his own account, 
and that he was negotiating a further loan with the British and 
Chinese Corporation to provide funds for their redemption, 
the province passed from agitation to revolt. By July 
there were all the symptoms of impending disorder. Inflam- 
matory posters were exhibited, and in August the shops 
were closed and all business was suspended for ten days. 



Sheng Kiing-pao, confident in the support of the Cabinet 
and of his foreign friends, kept up a bold front, advising the 
Government to act with firmness in the impending crisis ; 
Wuchang and Changsha were evidently waiting upon events: 
if Szechuan were allowed to defy the Government, the 
Imperial authority was gone for ever. And Sheng was 
right. But the Government had neither the material nor 
the moral forces to lay the spirit of revolt ; all it could do 
was to appoint T'sen Ch'un-hsuan, queller of insurrections, 
to proceed in hot haste to Chengtu, now besieged by bands 
of rebels. This was on September the 15th. Six weeks 
later, the debacle of the Central Government was complete 
and the cause of provincial autonomy had swung out upon 
the open seas of an anti-dynastic rebellion. The end of 
Sheng Hsiian-huai s attempt to serve the cause of Central- 
ised Government was recorded, after his impeachment, in 
the following Imperial Edict, shameless in its cowardly in- 
gratitude : 

" In his policy regarding the nationalisation of railways, 
Sheng failed to appreciate the intentions of the Throne and 
committed many blunders. After receiving proofs of our 
high favour, he has jeopardised the situation by his self-seek- 
ing conduct. Unfaithful to the trust we placed in him, 
Sheng is cashiered, never again to be employed." 

This was issued on the 26th of October. On the follow- 
ing day, several of the provincial members in the National 
Assembly demanded the summary decapitation of Sheng on 
the ground that his centralisation policy was contrary to the 
interests of the nation. He was saved from that evil fate by 
the energetic action of Sir John Jordan, who, supported by 
the other Ministers of the " Four Nations " group, addressed 
a vigorous remonstrance to the Government. Sheng, weary 
of well-doing, retired into private life in Japan, safely es- 
corted to Tientsin by two soldiers from each of the *' Four 
Nations " Legation Guards. It was the best, and the least, 
that they could do for him. 




Up to the date of the Revolution, the energies of the 
provincial students and gentry had been forcibly directed 
against foreign participation in Chinese railways and their 
enterprises by the Central Government : beyond this, how- 
ever, they had rarely gone. From the outset, the Provincial 
Bureaus had l^een distinguished for literary and oratorical 
efforts, and for the collection of subscriptions from the 
patriotic, rather than for any capacity for organisation or 
constructive economic policy. Since the Revolution, with a 
free hand in administration and finance, they have continued 
to produce no evidences of one or the other. But with the 
disappearance of the Manchu dynasty as a common ground 
of opposition, the divergent interests and policies of the 
provinces began to assert themselves, as they were bound 
to do, in the narrower and, less national aspects of local 
autonomy. And just as the immediate cause of the out- 
break of the rebellion in Szechuan may be traced to sordid 
motives of vested interests and the personal equation, so, 
between the provinces, distinct Unes of cleavage have 
manifested themselves, in differences arising out of the 
opportunities and perquisites of office. Each province is 
frankly desirous of getting money, by loans or otherwise, on 
its own account. A certain amount of revenue has been 
voluntarily remitted by the more enlightened and patriotic 
amongst the local authorities for the purposes of the Central 
Government, but generally speaking, the internal politics of 
the provinces, as displayed in the National and Provincial 
Assemblies, are instinct with deep-rooted tendencies of 
parochialism. The opposition aroused by the monarchy's 
policy of centralisation has been transferred en bloc to the 
financial schemes of the Republican Government. From 
the \'ery beginnings of the Provisional Government at Nan- 
king under Sun Yat-sen, its leaders endeavoured to assert 



their rights to independent financial operations and loans 
raised on provincial securities, and they strongly resented 
Yuan Shih-k'ai's determination to retain all borrowing powers 
in the hands of the Central Government. The embarrass- 
ment of the Ministry of Finance and the deadlock produced 
by T ang Shao-yi's differences with the " Four Nations " 
group seemed to the provincial authorities to offer borrowing 
opportunities of the kind which they had long been seeking, 
but the solidarity of the European and American financiers 
and the monopoly of support given to them by their respective 
Go^ernments frustrated all their efforts in this direction. 
The position continued, in fact, to present the same funda- 
mental difficulty as that which inspired Sheng's ill-starred 
attempt at centralisation, for, as matters stand, the Powers 
will not sanction loans to the Central Government except 
under satisfactory conditions of supervision of expenditure. 
Peking, as represented by the Ministry of Finance and the 
Advisory Council in May, had accepted these conditions 
as inevitable. But this acceptance involved admission of 
Peking's supreme authority in financial administration, which 
only thus can become national. And this, in turn, implies not 
only the provinces' confidence in the honesty of Peking's 
intentions and administrations, but the surrender of their 
claims to increased autonomy. The question of Peking 
versus the provinces — an fond a question of money — remains 
therefore unsolved, and solvable only by a strong policy in 
the hands of a strong man, backed by material force. 

That the provinces have no inveterate objection to foreign 
loans, and that, on the contrary, they are ready to take them 
on almost any conditions except that of supervision of ex- 
penditure, requires no elaborate proof. In February, 1912, 
the Republican Minister of Finance under Sun Vat-sen at 
Nanking was prepared to give to Japanese financiers liens 
on the properties of the China Merchants Company; the 
Kiangsu, Chekiang, Kiangsi, Fukhien and Yueh-Han 
Railways ; several steel, coal and iron enterprises in the 



vicinity of Hankow, and other mines. But the operations 
of independent Japanese bankers were loyally checked by 
the Government at Tokyo, and no large loans were obtain- 
able in other quarters. Small advances by Austrian and 
German private firms were arranged by the authorities of 
Chihli and Chekiang, but broadly speaking, the provinces 
found themselves in the same position as they were under 
the Monarchy. The internationalisation of European 
capital served at least to protect China from the worst 
results of mandarin rapacity and unscrupulous foreign 
finance at a very critical period. 


Other signs of local autonomy and interprovincial differ- 
ences manifested themselves, however, at an early stage of 
the Revolution. In many cases provinces proceeded to 
elect their own Tutuhs or Military Governors, without 
reference to any central authority, and in the case of 
Kiangsu three separate districts elected rival Tutuhs for 
Shanghai, Soochow and Kiangpei. In March, the President 
of the Republic found it necessary to appeal to the good 
sense and patriotism of the nation in this matter, in a 
" Mandate " couched in the traditional phraseology : 

" The election of Tutuhs by the provinces themselves 
before was due to the severance of their relation with the 
Central Government. Now, as unity of the whole nation 
has been effected, there exists no longer what used to be 
termed independence in the provinces. The local official 
system shall be framed and promulgated, according to the 
provisional law, by the Central Government for adoption. 
Whether the local assemblies should possess the powder to 
elect their own superior officials or not, should, assuredly, 
be stipulated in the official system as decided by the 
National Assembly. If, before the promulgation of such an 
official system, the provinces should act, each upon its own 



initiative, and persist in electing their Tutuhs time and again, 
the situation will surely become more chaotic, in direct 
contravention of the spirit of unification. 

"The object which should be aimed at in our mode of 
procedure at present is the maintenance of the present state 
and the preservation of public peace; it is absolutely in- 
advisable to take provocative measures with frivolous 
frequency, thereby causing complications." 

The position which confronted Yuan at this time was 
dangerous and difficult enough to daunt any man, and it 
speaks volumes for his statesmanship and courage that, with 
the poor materials at his disposal, he should have been able to 
evolve something like order out of the chaotic elements of 
the Republic. Apart from the deep-rooted and permanent 
distrust of the North for the South, the question of the 
capital was being violently agitated, Wuchang, Nanking, 
Tientsin and Peking all advancing their separate and well- 
supported claims. His own policy and his entourage 
were frankly distrusted by the National Council and by 
Ministers voicing the extreme views of the T'ung Meng-hui. 
The immemorial tradition of Government had been rudely 
shattered, and every province, every leader, might claim to 
be a law unto himself. At the time of the outbreak of the 
Revolution, Hupeh, Fukhien, Szechuan and other provinces 
had declared themselves as independent Republics. They 
had since joined the National Republican fold, but their 
claims to Home Rule were apparently unlimited. The 
prospect of a united nation consisting of eighteen Irelands 
on a large scale, and minus the Police, was bad enough ; in 
addition, there were outlying positions of the ancient Empire, 
Thibet, Mongolia and even Manchuria, where the Republic 
was far from being an established fact. Provincial autonomy 
in Kansuh seemed likely to take the form of a Mahomedan 
rising, Chao Erh-hsiin, Governor of Moukden, was still an 
avowed Imperialist ; while General Chang Hsiin, encamped 
with his army on the Tientsin-P'ukou line, was an unknown, 



but certainly unruly, factor in the situation. Finally, there 
were the Manchu Princes and the Court, with its hoarded 
treasures, an ever present source of possible complications. 
With all these difficulties and dangers. Yuan, almost single- 
handed, has dealt, tant hien que mal, by virtue of his 
unrivalled capacity for ruling his countrymen, with a skilful 
combination of graceful compromise and timely firmness. 
But the financial problem which underlies the keenest 
aspirations of the provinces towards local autonomy remains 
unsolved and fraught with imminent peril to the State. It is 
a problem in which the persistent Conservatism of the masses 
will continue to be intelligently directed by the self-seeking 
elements amongst the students and gentry, to the furtherance 
of their individual interests and ambitions, a problem which, 
if solved at all, can only be solved by a judicious combination 
of centraUsation in finance and local autonomy in administra- 
tion, on the lines suggested in 1908 by Chang Chih-tung to 
the Provincial delegates of Hunan and Hupeh. To 
attain this end, and to maintain the Central Government's 
authority until it is achieved, it is essential that the foreign 
Powers interested in the future welfare of China should 
continue unitedly to insist on effective supervision of the 
expenditure of all new loans. Without this condition, the 
Central Government becomes again involved in a fierce 
financial struggle with the provinces, whereof the inevitable 
end can only be foreign intervention. 




Looking back over the whole history of Great Britain's 
relations with China since the abolition of the East India 
Company's trading monopoly in 1834, one fact stands out in 
clear relief, namely, that the China trade, upon which great 
hopes have repeatedly been founded, has remained, from a 
national point of view, comparatively insignificant,^ and 
incommensurate with the sacrifices and risks incurred to 
develop it. Apart from the more immediate questions of 
national defence. Great Britain's foreign policy represents, in 
the main, the collective opinions and interests of British 
traders ; it follows, therefore, that where the trade with any 
particular country is insufficient in itself to influence a con- 
siderable force of public opinion in England, the policy of 
the British Government will, in the long run, reflect that 

For a quarter of a century after the passing of the East 
India Company, British policy in China, under the vigorous 
direction of Lord Palmerston, represented the idea then 
generally prevalent in England, that the Chinese Empire, 
once successfully opened to trade, would offer a vast field of 
lucrative opportunities for British merchants. The wars of 
1842 and 1858 were deliberately undertaken for the develop - 

^ The total value of Great Britain's exports in 1910 was £534,145,817. 
Of this, £9,317,122 worth were exports to China, that is to say, less than 
2 per cent. The imports from China represented 5 J millions, out of a 
total of Gb7 millions, or less than 1 per cent. 


Photo, Le Munyo7t, Peking. 

British Legation Guarded (March, 1912). 


ment and protection of that field, at a time when Enghsh- 
men had no reason to anticipate serious rivalry in the 
\ reaping of its harvests. There were no world-politics in the 
Asia of those days. The security of our Indian frontiers, 
our position and prestige as an Asiatic Power, were not 
affected by anything that happened at Peking. Until 1894, 
when the war with Japan foreshadowed the application of 
new forces of geographical gravitation to the splendid 
isolation of the Middle Kingdom, the interests of traders 
and missionaries constituted practically the whole business 
of British diplomacy in China. But after the second war, 
which confirmed the trading rights conceded under the 
Treaty of Tientsin, a gradual change took place in the 
policy of Downing Street, and the establishment of direct 
diplomatic relations at Peking slowly but surely brought 
conviction to the minds of those who studied the question 
closely that, as far as trade was concerned, the Chinese 
oyster could not be compelled to yield up its pearls by any 
application of force. It did not take long for the first 
British Envoy to perceive that (as he wi^ote in July, 1862) 
** in a country like China, the conclusion of a Treaty is the 
commencement, not the termination, of difficulties." At 
that time, only three other Powers were represented at the 
Chinese capital (France, Russia and the United States) and 
the great bulk of the business of the fifteen trading ports 
then open was in British hands. The British Government 
had committed itself definitely, by the assistance rendered 
against the Taiping rebels, to the upholding of the dynasty 
and the protection of the Empire's integrity.^ The brunt of 
Chinese official obstruction, firmly opposed to the opening 
up of the country to trade, fell, therefore, upon the British 
representative. Sir Frederick Bruce's despatches of that 
period clearly reflect the steady decline of the hopes for 

^ Prince Ito considered that, in assisting the Manchus to suppress the 
Taiping Rebellion, Great Britain had committed a fundamental error 
"arresting a normal and healthy process of nature." 

257 s 


which the two wars had been fought, the fading of all the 
bright dreams of a great Chinese trade. For ten years after 
the conclusion of the Treaty of Tientsin (1858) evidence of 
a conclusive kind continued to accumulate in the archives of 
the British Legation, all pointing clearly to the hopelessly 
ineffectual results of foreign diplomacy at Peking. Sir 
Frederick Bruce was only the first of a long line of British 
representatives perforce condemned to helpless remonstrances 
and futile admonitions. He himself realised clearly enough 
the forces of disintegration already then at work, the 
inherent weakness of the Manchu administration and the 
impossibility of securing united action from Powers whose 
conflicting interests would always be used by the Chinese for 
the furtherance of their own ends. In 1861, he wrote : " The 
weakness of China, rather than her strength, is likely to 
create a fresh Eastern question in these seas." The resources 
of diplomacy and the enterprise of traders fought alike in 
vain against the stolid inertia of mandarin obstruction. 
For ten years the struggle went on, British Chambers of 
Commerce and individual traders plying the Minister and 
Downing Street with suggestions and appeals, while the 
Legation waged an increasing paper-war against violations of 
Treaty and irregular levies on trade ; but already a reaction 
of discouragement had set in, and the exigencies of party 
politics came, with the removal of Lord Palmerston from 
the Foreign Office, to establish a policy of laisser-faire at 
headquarters. As early as 1862, we find the Foreign Office, 
responding to a reaction of benevolent non-interference 
with China's internal economies, restraining British mer- 
chants from the enjoyment of the rights of inland navigation 
and residence which the hard-won Treaties had conferred. 
In the following year. Lord Russell informed the Shanghai 
Chamber of Commerce that " it was desirable to diminish by 
every means in their power the points of contact between 
British subjects and the Chinese Government and 




AVhen Mr. John Bright took charge of the Board of 
Trade, he brought to bear on Great Britain's relations with 
the Celestial Empire not only the full weight of a senti- 
mental humanitarianism which knew nothing of China, 
but an inveterate hatred of the Imperialism which had 
animated Lord Palmerston's policy in the Far East. Under 
his influence, the " points of contact " were effectively 
diminished and the activities of British merchants rigidly 
repressed. Mr, Alexander JNIichie, a far-sighted and dis- 
passionate observer of Chinese affairs, referring to this 
critical period of British policy, says, "the change which 
came over the Diplomatic and Consular Services at the end 
of the first decade of diplomatic relations may be likened to 
the rising, followed by the receding, of a tide. . . . The 
Foreign Office became nerveless and invertebrate, senti- 
mental and unstable. . . . Apathy became the principle ; to 
keep the peace at all sacrifices is the avowed policy of 
British diplomacy in China." ^ No doubt. Sir Robert Hart's 
influence and advice on the Chinese side were powerful factors 
in determining a policy which was instinctively seeking the 
line of least resistance. In any case, the results were un- 
mistakable, and they have endured unto the present day. 
Since 1870, the Chinese question has been a thorn in the side 
of British statesmen, and Peking the grave of more than one 
earnest diplomat's reputation. There have been paroxysms 
of misdirected energy, generally stimulated by the activities 
of other Powers rather than by imperative recognition of 
British interests, and these, in turn, have been followed by 
efforts at conciliating the Chinese and by the gradual 
retrocession of Treaty rights, either in deference to a 
definite policy of non-interference or because the game of 
defendnig them was not worth the expensive candle. 

^ Vide The Englishman in China, by A. Michie. (Blackwood. 1900.) 

259 8 2 


Summarising tho general results of British policy in the 
year 1897, at a time when Treaty and Tariff revision was 
under discussion, I referred to this aspect of the situation as 
follows : — ^ 

The various legitimate concessions which British 
merchants at the Treaty Ports now claim, as necessary 
to be obtained from the Chinese Government, in the event 
of Tariff revision, differ but little from those demands which 
were put forward by the Shanghai Chamber of Commerce 
in 1870, and most of the points then dealt with in the 
memorandum addressed by the Chamber to Lord Clarendon 
remain unsatisfactorily at issue to-day. The Chamber's 
memorandum of 1870 might well be sent in almost without 
alteration at the present time. Such being the results of 
the action, or inaction, of the British Government in the 
East (with whom, until quite recently, the trusteeship of all 
foreign interests in China virtually rested), it is scarcely a 
matter for surprise that the British merchant has of late 
years shown that lack of enterprise to which Mr. Consul 
Brenan refers in his recent report upon the trade of China. 

. . . Finding their just claims either totally disregarded or 
indefinitely shelved, hopeless of obtaining support either at 
the I^egation in Peking or at home, can it be wondered that 
British traders, whose early history in China is a remarkable 
record of well-directed activity, have gradually fallen into a 
state of apathetic resignation, and fearing to embark upon 
any new line of business, have eventually become a class of 
commission agents for the Chinese? Is it also any wonder 
that the trade and intercourse of China with foreign lands 
remain totally insignificant when compared with the re- 
sources of the Empire? " 

And, in another place : — 

"A glance at Sir R. Alcock's unratified Convention of 
18G9, or at the despatches of Lord Clarendon, affords 
sufficient evidence of the policy then adopted, a policy not 

1 Fide Special articles in The Times. Republished as a pamphlet, Shanghai. 



only retrogressive and fatal in its immediate results, but 
especially damaging to British interests in the influence 
which it has since exercised upon the Consular Service in 
China. The attitude of non-intervention and of deference 
to native prejudices, carefully instilled into every Consular 
student and assistant under Sir R. Alcock and Sir Thomas 
Wade, bears fruit unto this day, and almost every existing 
tradition of British officialdom in China reflects in some 
degree the instructions of Lords Clarendon and Russell." 


The policy thus definitely adopted by the Home Govern- 
ment in the late sixties emphasised the melancholy results of 
experience and a general recognition of the impossibility of 
creating a great China trade by force of pressure. It reflected 
also- a benevolent belief in China's ability ultimately to set 
her own house in order and to develop her resources in her 
own way. But simultaneously with the process of disillusion 
and the fading of the bright hopes that had been built on 
British commerce in the Far East, the importance of China 
as a central factor in a new series of political problems began 
to be recognised — ^problems which perforce concerned Great 
Britain as an Asiatic Power. And as the facts of an entirely 
new situation forced themselves gradually into recognition, 
the undeniable possibilities of the future of China, once opened 
to commerce by railways and education, continued to afford 
incentive not only for preserving the integrity of the Empire 
as an open market, but for maintaining Great Britain's pre- 
dominant position in its trade. There was at no time any 
question of territorial ambitions, and, after 1860, no further 
desire for military adventures. The weary Titan had learned 
in the Indian Mutiny the weight of the white man's burden 
in Asia and had no wish to increase it. Hongkong was 
only a necessary outpost of commerce, acquired for that 
specific purpose ; Weihaiwei, " leased " at the height of the 
"spheres of influence" regime, was merely a blunder, com- 



mitted to prove, by imitative procedure, that England was 
not a negligible quantity. From the late 'sixties until nearly 
the end of the century, the efforts of British policy in China 
were practically concentrated on the maintenance of our 
trading rights. 

These efforts were certainly well-meant, but they suf- 
fered from a lack of continuity at headquarters, due to the 
exigencies of our party politics, to the sending of incompetent 
JNIinisters, and to the unsatisfactory traditions which had be- 
come firmly established in the Consular Service. Under no 
circumstances could diplomacy, unless backed by horse, foot 
and artillery, have opened the interior of China to the free 
transit trade of the Tientsin Treaty : no amount of good 
advice or threats at Peking could serve to abolish the lekin 
barriers of the provinces : the position of a British Minister, 
between the devil of his countrymen's undeniable rights and 
the deep sea of China's elastic resistance to pressure, was 
always undignified and frequently uncomfortable. For this 
reason, the co-operative policy " of the Treaty Powers with 
its " most-favoured-nation " clauses and other protective 
machinery, was introduced at an early stage of the Peking 
Diplomatic Body's existence — but its only result was to merge 
the impotence of the individual Minister in the collective 
helplessness of his colleagues. An American Minister, with 
much less to complain of than his British colleague, compared 
the results of his labours to " boxing a feather bed "; another 
authority has likened the task of foreign diplomacy at Peking 
to fastening a jelly on to a wall with tacks. Looking back 
at the long wordy warfare of those days, one realises how 
impossible was the attempt to save the Chinese Government 
from itself. With every desire to strengthen China (a desire 
which increased as new danger-clouds loomed up on the 
Northern and Eastern frontiers), with every belief in the 
potential value of her trade, England had no means of con- 
vincing the mandarins, Manchu or Chinese, that their own 
existence depended upon fulfilment of their obligations. As 



it was in Elgin's time, so it remained, " they yield everything 
to fear and nothing to reason " ; and so successive British 
Ministers continued to urge reforms, military, financial and 
administrative, whilst tolerating China's systematic evasion of 
her obligations. 

If we compare the interest displayed in the affairs and 
trade of China by the people of England in 1860 with the 
general attitude as reflected in the Press and in the proceed- 
ings of Chambers of Commerce in 1890, we perceive the 
unmistakable results of that gradual process of disillusion to 
which I have referred. But after 1895, the shadow of welt- 
poUtik having begun to cast itself darkly across the Chinese 
Empire, and the interests of British bondholders having 
been added to those of merchants and missionaries in the 
Far East, the task of British diplomacy at Peking entered 
upon a new and more complex phase, as the result of which 
public opinion began once more to concern itself actively 
in China. Until the close of the Chino-Japanese war and 
the first revelation of Russia's Far Eastern policy, which 
followed the coalition of the three Powers against the victor, 
the man in the street (not excluding Downing Street) had 
been accustomed to think vaguely of China as a land of 
hopeless topsy-turvydom, where men eat puppy dogs and 
birds'-nests — a country inhabited by Sir Robert Hart and 
Li Hung-chang and four hundred million shadows with 
unpronounceable names. After the seizure of Kiaochao and 
the Battle of Concessions in 1898, public opinion began to 
identify China with things more familiar and intelligible ; 
with Russia's unswerving ambitions for access to the open 
sea ; with Germany's need of new places in the sun ; with 
problems of threatened frontiers and new trade-routes ; at 
the same time, the commercial world was stirred anew with 
splendid visions of the long-deferred opening-up of Central 
China, to be attained by the construction of railways and 
the development of mines, and cosmopolitan finance began 
to display interest in a country which presented unusual 



attractions, as an improvident and defenceless debtor 
possessed of undeveloped resources. 


At this stage of events, and as public opinion gradually 
came to take a more intelligent interest in Chinese affairs, it 
was realised by observers both in China and in England 
that the conditions under which British trade and British 
diplomacy had existed since 1860, had naturally tended to 
produce certain permanent results, which in themselves 
acted as obstacles to the framing and operation of an 
effective national and Imperial policy. The China trade, 
originally confined to a limited number of staples, handled at 
the Treaty Ports by a few British pioneers, had gradually 
built up predominant local interests in the hands of a few 
powerful firms. The very simplicity and concentration of 
the trade had produced two results : it had greatly limited the 
British public's interest in China, and, in the absence of any 
body of opinion, it had caused the policy of the Foreign 
Office to be very largely guided by the advice of the 
individuals and firms most prominently associated with China. 
It was very naturally assumed that those who had long 
experience of the country were the best judges of the 
situation and its requirements — and as neither the Legation 
nor Downing Street possessed experts fully acquainted with 
the commercial and financial questions peculiar to the East, 
it was equally natural that firms or individuals claiming to 
represent [special knowledge or special interests should 
frequently be consulted by the Foreign Office. Within 
reasonable limitations, and under certain circumstances, this 
method of procedure had its distinct advantages. The 
" China Association," for instance, has for many years 
rendered notable services to the advancement of Great 
Britain's commercial and political interests in the Far East, 
and many individual Englishmen could be named — men of 



the type of Mr. Gundry, Mr. J. L. Scott and Sir Charles 
Dudgeon — whose sense of public duty and patriotism 
enabled them, looking beyond all local and personal interests, 
to keep in view the wider aspects of Imperial and national 
policy. And so long as British interests in China were 
largely confined to commercial matters (that is to say, until 
the early 'nineties), the fact that the vested interests of the 
great shipping, banking and trading firms of the Treaty Ports 
were able to exercise a very considerable influence on British 
policy, was natural enough, and, generally speaking, 
beneficial. But as the problems of the Far East became 
more and more involved in the complexities of world-politics, 
the influence of vested interests, which were perforce more 
local than national in their outlook, became a stumbling 
block and a source of dangerous weakness to British policy. 
Even in the earlier stages of our relations with China, at such 
times as the immediate interest of the British tax-payer had 
been aroused by the prospect, or the actual outbreak, of 
expensive hostilities, the divergence between the vested 
interests of influential " China hands " and the national 
interests of an Imperial policy had been criticised by many 
observers. One of the earliest of these, Captain Sherard 
Osborn, R.N. (of the Lay-Osborn flotilla), writing in 1860,^ 
commented on the ''Sad lack of sound information evinced 
in the late debates upon China," and observed, "as an 
incontestable fact, that the opinions of the majority were 
based, not upon historical and commercial data, but simply 
upon the statements of certain special interests or factions." 
Referring to the Chinese Government's breach of the Treaty 
of Tientsin, he said : — 

" The public in England, astounded at the sudden and 
unexpected perfidy, turned naturally for an explanation of 
the tragedy to those who had been living longest amongst 

1 British Relations in China. By Captain Sherard Osborn, R.N. (Black- 
wood. 1860.) 



the Chinese. Then it was that we saw the Chinese vested 
interest paralysing the counsels of our sovereign, the strong 
arm of the executive, and the sound sense of the English 
public. Strange that people ha^dng to choose between class 
and Imperial interests should halt between the two. Yet so 
it is. Even Lord Elgin had to throw a sop to this rampant 
interest as he left our shores, and we meet it in all quarters, 
under all shapes and guises. The English merchants engaged 
in the Chinese trade are not perhaps very numerous, but they 
are extremely wealthy and possess, for their numbers, great 
interest. Firms that can allow members to retire on from 
£50,000 to £100,000 in the course of every few years are by 
no means despicable either in family connection, social 
position or territorial status in Great Britain ; and the fight 
they are now making, and the specious arguments the}^ 
advance on behalf really of their vested interests, have 
induced our statesmen to steer a middle course, which has 
up to this day signally failed." 


INIaking all due allowance for the gallant Captain's " bias 
of class," there were undoubtedly good grounds for his 
criticism of a state of affairs which, although necessarily 
modified to some extent by the changes that have since taken 
place, continues, to this day, to vex the souls of patriotic 
Englishmen in the Far East and often to hamper the British 
Legation's well-meant activities. It is unnecessary unduly 
to elaborate a theme of its nature somewhat delicate and 
invidious. The fact is notorious and undisputed in the 
East that the policy of the Foreign Office has been for many 
years, and is, to a very great extent, founded upon the 
representations and advice of a privileged group of vested 
interests in China. Since the Battle of Concessions (1898) 
and tlie commencement of railway construction and finance, 
the activities of this influential group have naturally widened 
to meet a situation which speedily developed international 
features, and have added the cares of cosmopolitan finance 



to the protection of purely British enterprises of trade and 
industry. I have shown in a previous chapter how the 
pohcy of Yuan Shih-k ai in upholding the Monarchy, and the 
well-meant efforts of Sir John Jordan and his colleagues in 
support of that policy, were frustrated by the precipitate 
action of the great shipping and trading firms at Shanghai, 
more concerned for local and individual interests than for 
the Imperial or national aspects of the situation. In this 
instance, the action taken was short-sighted but intelligible, 
and its motives easily defensible, for the Republicans had 
brought to bear their favourite weapon, the threat of boycotts. 
Unfortunately, many instances might be cited where a clear 
consensus of opinion amongst the majority of Englishmen in 
China and the general efficiency of British policy have been 
sacrificed to the vested interests of an influential coterie. 
At the time of the Battle of Concessions, when the Yangtsze 
Valley was regarded as an exclusive preserve for British 
railway enterprise, the firm of Jardine, INIatheson and Co. 
combined with the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking 
Corporation to form the syndicate thenceforth known as 
"The British and Chinese Corporation, Limited." In a 
letter to the Foreign Office (April, 1898), Sir Ewen Cameron 
foreshadow^ed the labours of this " strong, representative and 
influential syndicate," which (as the Peking correspondent 
of The Times observed in 1902) " has been able since then to 
command almost a monopoly of the British Government's 
support." To this syndicate was entrusted the carrying-out 
of the valuable concessions exacted, under strong diplomatic 
pressure, by Lord Salisbury's Government. 

The rights and advantages conferred under these conces- 
sions were essentially national, and not individual, rights. In 
the case of the Northern Railway's loan of 1899, the British 
Government went so far as to take official cognisance of the 
terms of the agreement. Lord Salisbury recognising that it 
was inconsistent with the dignity of her Majesty's Govern- 
ment, and incompatible with British interests, to insist on 



concessions being granted to Great Britain and then to fail to ? 
maintain them as national undertakings. But after the Boxer 
debacle, and in the face of the new political complications in- 
troduced by Russia's retention of Manchuria, this logically 
sound policy was abandoned, and with it Great Britain's 
shadowy claims to a sphere of influence in the Yangtsze 
Valley/ For eight years the Concessions of 1898 remained 
undeveloped, despite the protests of the British community in 
general and the Crown Colony of Hongkong in particular 
— and when, the state of the money market being propitious, 
tliey were eventually taken in hand, it was done under con- 
ditions which subordinated the political and economic interests 
of Great Britain to the financial and individual interests of the 
concessionnaires. Despite many instructive object-lessons, 
the Foreign Office, while still insisting on the importance of 
maintaining the integrity of China, showed no appreciation 
of the fact that other nations were successfully developing 
their rights of railway construction as local " commercial " 
interests of a kind clearly foreshadowing political and military 
control. The concessions, if treated in the same manner as 
the Northern Railway's loan of 1899, might have been handled, 
effectively and without delay, by any of the numerous appli- 
cants for Foreign Office support, and without involving the 
British Government in any financial responsibilities. The 
importance of the railway question was theoretically recog- 
nised, and when Sir Ernest Satow returned to Peking from 
home-leave in August 1903, Lord Lansdowne stated that 
he went back with fuller powers and definite instructions 
to deal with it effectively. But at that date a new line of 

^ By the admission of German troops to the protection of the Settlements 
at Shanohai in 1898, Great Britain tacitly abandoned her claim to the 
Yan*rtsze Valley as a sphere of influence similar to that enjoyed by 
(jermany in Shantung. This step was strongly opposed by the leading 
Britisli merchants at Shanghai, but the Foreign Office's action had the 
support, in the China Association and in the House of Commons, of the 
London representatives of the officially-supported syndicate, and of the 
great shipping interests. 



devolution had been discovered in the Japanese Alliance, 
whereby " the maintenance of the territorial rights of the 
High Contracting Parties in the regions of East Asia and of 
India, and the defence of their special interests in the said 
regions," were eventually to become to some extent depen- 
dent upon the loyalty and goodwill of the new Asiatic Power. 
From this time forward, the policy of Great Britain vacillated 
between spasmodic recognition of the world-wide importance 
of the Far Eastern question and sudden reactions of inverte- 
brate parochialism. In July 1902, during the negotiations 
for the Mackay Treaty, Lord Cranborne went so far as to say 
that Great Britain was concerned, not so much in assisting 
China towards radical reform and the reorganisation of her 
commercial affairs with a view to their permanent prosperity, 
as in protecting the immediate interests of British maimfac- 
turers. Looking back on the " muddle and drift " policy of 
this particular period, one finds some excuse, if not justifi- 
cation, for the proceedings of those who were subsequently 
led to subordinate purely British interests to the exigencies 
and prospective profits of cosmopolitan finance. 


The apathy displayed at this juncture in England concern- 
ing the Far Eastern question, and the subservient attitude 
displayed by the Central Committee of the China Association, 
had aroused deep misgivings in the British communities in 
China,and especially at Shanghai. The Shanghai Branch of 
the Association, by a unanimous vote of its members, urged 
that British interests in the Far East should no longer be 
treated as matter for confidential and ineffective representa- 
tions to the Foreign Office, but should be brought into pro- 
minence by a policy of publicity and pressure.^ The views of 
the Shanghai community, as a whole, were patriotic and 
national in their aims : those of the Central Committee re- 
presented what was described at the time as a ''door-mat 

1 Meeting of the 12th of January, 1904. 


policy " of friendly representations. At the beginning of 
1901, when the prospect of Treaty revision held out new- 
hopes of the long-deferred expansion of trade and the develop- 
ment of Chuia's economic resources, sufficient interest had 
been aroused, for the time being, to create an influential group 
of members in the House of Commons, actively interested in 
the Chinese question, and to organise a " China League " 
frankly opposed to the policy of the " most-favoured syndi- 
cate " and vested interests. In a manifesto issued by the 
League in February 1901, the following passage occurs : — 

" At a time when the future of China hangs in the balance, 
when the maintenance of our position and trade in that 
Empire (that is to say, the welfare of Great Britain in years 
to come) depends on the immediate policy of her Majesty's 
Government and the action of the British representative in 
the Concert of the Powers at Peking : at such a time, the 
Imperial Parliament, its attention apparently concentrated 
on personal explanations of unimportant matters, enunciates 
no policy on the Far Eastern question. Statesmen on both 
sides of the House, and publicists of all shades of opinion, 
remain silent in regard to the crisis, offering no solution 
calculated to protect British interests. A debate on the 
China question attracts less attention than a minor question 
of parochial Government." 

The League was only stating melancholy truths, truths 
that reflect the central fact, which had led to the gradual 
decline of British political activities in China in the 'sixties, 
namely, that the trade of China and the vested interests by 
which it was chiefly represented were insufficient to create 
any effective force of public opinion ; and that, in the absence 
of such compelling force, no definite or consistent policy was 
to be expected from Downing Street. Except in very rare 
cases and at the hands of exceptional leaders, England's 
foreign policy follows, and does not lead, public opinion. 
The China League's well-meant activities eventually 
succumbed, like those of the China Association's branches in 



the East, partly because of the hopelessness of coming to 
close quarters with elusive abstractions, and partly because 
many of the protestants realised before long that the practice 
of patriotic virtues might involve business disadvantages ; 
that to kick against the pricks of financial magnates was a 
proceeding not devoid of unpleasant risks. The power of a 
predominant financial institution in a community of traders 
whose business existence depends on credit facilities can 
hardly be exaggerated ; its influences extend to the uttermost 
ends of commercial, and even into social, life. Up till 1905, 
the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank had allowed the political 
side of concession affairs to be handled by its railway 
business partners, the firm of Jardine, Matheson & Co. ; its 
own operations were practically confined to exchange 
business, and its internal politics were still those of the 
enlightened patriotism which had distinguished Sir Thomas 
Jackson's administration in Hongkong. From 1905 on- 
wards, however, the policy and the proceedings of the 
Bank underwent a complete change. Under the direction 
of the London management, in close touch with the Foreign 
Office, it embarked upon the business of political finance 
which (for reasons hereinafter explained) speedily assumed 
a distinctly cosmopolitan character. 

Realising the dangers of the position, the Shanghai 
branch of the China Association continued until 1908 
to advocate its policy of publicity and pressure, but the 
vested interests were strongly entrenched and the movement 
eventuallyidied of inanition. Since that date, it may be said 
that the body originally organised ^to represent and promote 
British Imperial and national interests in China, has come 
to represent vested interests rather than patriotic principles. 
Its activities at the present day are generally comprised in 
an annual dinner and a Report, carefully edited to suppress 
everything of a contentious nature. On such vital questions 
as the Hankow-Szechuan Railway loan, for instance, 
or Russia's and Japan's claims to special rights and in- 



terests " in JNlanchuria and Mongolia, or the political-finance 
of the Six-Nations " Banks, the Association remains 
collecti\ ely inarticulate and, so far as the public is aware, 
apathetic. Its attitude faithfully reflects, in fact, the policy 
officially prescribed by Downing Street for the guidance of 
successive British ^linisters, namely, to raise as few questions 
as possible. 


The foreign policy of Great Britain in China for the past 
six years, so far as economic and industrial interests are 
concerned, may fairly be said to have begun and ended with 
the financial operations of the Hongkong and Shanghai 
Banking Corporation. It has been one of the most per- 
sistent fallacies of the Foreign Office, faithfully reflected by 
the China Association in London, that the political aspects 
of the China question can, and should, be kept separate from 
commercial affairs. This ingenious fetich was applied to 
British enterprises in general, and to railways and mining 
concessions in particular, even after the results of the 
continental policy of conquest by railway and bank " had 
been demonstrated : it has even been applied to the affairs 
of tlie group which " commanded almost a monopoly of the 
British Government's support." Wearied by the futilities 
of the JNIackay Treaty negotiations and the ever-increasing 
complexities of the situation, the mot d'ordre went forth (it 
was even recorded in despatches) that the British Govern- 
ment possessed no means of preventing China from 
repudiating her most solemn obligations. The British 
Minister's position became as unpleasant as it was un- 
dignified, for, whilst loyally assuring his nationals of the 
efficacy of the Home Government's defence of their rights, 
he was well aware that " not a ship would be moved nor a 
man landed" for the protection of any British interest. 
And the Chinese Government was equally well informed. 



Therefore when questions arose from the evasion or repudia- 
tion of China's obUgations in the matter of railways and 
mining enterprises, not to speak of everyday commercial 
cases, the nature of the support rendered by His Majesty's 
Government took the form of permitting the parties 
concerned to make the best compromise possible and 
proclaiming the results (when there were any) as triumphs 
of British diplomacy. There is little matter for wonder, 
though there surely is for regret, that, under such con- 
ditions, the financial vested interests which dominated the 
situation should gradually have drifted into cosmopolitanism. 
It may be of interest to recapitulate some of the principal 
events which led in turn to the Yangtsze \''alley fiasco, to 
the establishment of the " Four-Nations " group, and to the 
hopelessly-involved situation therefrom resulting. 


In 1895, that is to say, before the Cassini Convention and 
the seizure of Kiaochao had foreshadowed the events which 
were to turn Manchuria and North China into a cockpit, the 
Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation entered into 
an agreement to share with the newly-established Deutsch- 
Asiatische Bank of Berlin all Chinese Government business 
thereafter obtained by either party. In making this agree- 
ment, under political conditions widely differing from those 
of to-day, the British Bank was, no doubt, actuated by a per- 
fectly legitimate and intelligible desire to avoid unnecessary 
competition in a field which, up to that time, had been 
generally neglected by other Powers. In 1898, however, 
with the acute development of the " spheres of influence " 
regime and the assertion by Great Britain of special rights in 
the Yangtsze Valley, five exclusively British railway conces- 
sions in that region were extracted from China, as I have said, 
under severe diplomatic pressure by the British Minister. 
These concessions were clearly not of a nature to be financed 

273 T 


with German participation ; they were accordingly obtained 
in the name of a purely British syndicate, the British and 
Chinese Corporation, in which the Bank was associated with 
the British firm of Jardine Matheson and Co. as joint 
managers. From 1899 to 1906, as the result of the Boxer 
rising and the Russo-Japanese war, political finance in China 
remained, generally speaking, in a state of suspended anima- 
tion, only one of the five British railway concessions being 
brought to the conclusion of a loan during that period. It 
is, however, noteworthy that, in regard to the final Boxer 
indemnity loan of February 1905, the Deutsch-Asiatische 
Bank asserted its right to participation under the terms of 
the 1895 agreement, although in 1898, foreseeing political 
difficulties with Russia, it had declined to exercise that right 
in the case of the Northern Railways loan. Upon the con- 
clusion of the Russo-Japanese war, economic conditions in 
China quickly reflected the political changes which then took 
place as the result of Russia's defeat, of the aggressive 
nationalism of Young China, and of the increasing competi- 
tion by new-comers for a share of the benefits confidently 
expected to follow upon the country's promised development 
of trade and industries. When, therefore, four of the five 
British railway concessions obtained in 1898 had been nego- 
tiated, taut hieii que mal, to the conclusion of loan agree- 
ments in 1907-1908, the German Bank took occasion to inti- 
mate in London its intention henceforth of competing for 
railway and other Chinese Government loans, in the 
Yangtsze Valley and elsewhere, unless admitted to full parti- 
cipation on terms of equality.^ 

1 In arranging for the evacuation of Shanghai in October, 1902, Germany 
had taken advantage of the occasion to intimate that Great Britain's claims 
to 'influence" or economic advantages in the Yangtsze Valley would no 
longer be recognised. The event passed almost unnoticed in England : 
but if the British Government had possessed anything in the nature of 
a poHcy, this frank repudiation of a mutual understanding, ignoring the 
Anglo- Russian Convention of 1899, should at least have been followed by a 
denunciation of Germany's claims to " preferential advantages " in Shantung. 



The position of the financiers responsible for the proceed- 
ings of tiie British Bank became, at this juncture, one of con- 
siderable delicacy. On the one hand, they were bound to 
acquiesce in the German demand for participation because 
of their undenounced agreement of 1895 ; on the other, 
having for years enjoyed a monopoly of British Government 
support and become identified with British enterprise of far- 
reaching political importance, they could not openly endorse 
these German claims without arousing criticism and opposi- 
tion in England and France. The Germans, however, real- 
ising that the psychological moment had arrived, proceeded 
to force their partner's hand. The representative of the 
Deutsch-Asiatische Bank at Peking (Herr Cordes, formerly 
of the German Consular Service) had gained high favour 
with the Chinese in 1908, by dispensing with all effective 
control of loan funds in the case of the Tientsin-P ukou 
Railway ; he now gave an earnest of the significance of that 
policy, and claimed his reward, by opening independent 
negotiations with Chang Chih-tung, the Viceroy of Wuchang, 
for the Hankow- Canton, and Szechuan Railway loans. Both 
of these lines, coming within the Yangtsze ^"alley area, had 
been recognised by tlie Chinese Government as enterprises 
reserved for the British, only the United States being entitled 
to a half share in the financing of the Szechuan Railway. 
In entering into competition for these loans, the Deutsch- 
Asiatische Bank violated the agreement made on September 
2, 1898, whereby German financiers bound themselves to 
respect the Yangtsze Valley as a British railway sphere.^ 
In concluding its agreement with Chang Chih-tung on 
March 8, 1909, it ignored also a formal protest which had 
been addressed by Sir John Jordan to the Chinese Govern- 
ment in February, alleging, in justification of its action, that 
the conditions under which Great Britain's preferential rights 
had originally been recognised had automatically lapsed with 

spheres of influence." In view of the fact that Germany's 

1 Fide Blue iiuok, China, No. 1 of 1899, p. 214. 

275 T 2 


claims to exclusive rights in Shantung have been consistently 
— not to say quixotically — recognised by Great Britain, the 
bad faith of Germany's action in this matter was on a par 
with that of the Chinese, who, in repudiating their pledges, 
were obviously actuated by their desire to set one barbarian 
against the other. 

Despite the misgivings and dissatisfaction of the French 
financiers associated with the Hongkong and Shanghai 
Bank in the syndicate known as the " Chinese Central 
Railways, Ltd.,"^ notwithstanding strong representations by 
the French Ambassador in London, and despite the protests 
and warnings which had been addressed to the Waiwupu by 
the British INIinister at Peking, German participation in 
these Yangtsze railways became an accomplished fact in 
June, 1909. The British Government's deplorable weakness 
throughout this unfortunate episode was primarily due to 
ignorance of the inner workings of German political finance, 
and consequently to the preponderant weight exercised by 
the counsels of Lombard Street. The British Minister at 
Peking clearly perceived at the outset the disabilities and 
loss of prestige which British interests must incur as the 
result of acquiescence in German claims to participation in 
these enterprises, but the opinion of the Legation carried 
little weight against that of cosmopolitan finance. Downing 
Street sought justification for what was generally recognised 
as an ignominous debacle, in the pious hope that, after 
the elimination of German competition, it would be 
possible to impose on the Chinese Government conditions 
of honest railway construction and administration. Any 
one acquainted with the political finance methods pursued 
by Germany in China, Turkey, and other " troubled waters," 

^ The Chinese Central Railway, Ltd., is an Anglo-French syndicate 
fonned, in 189^^, for tlie purpose of undertaking railway and finance business 
in China north of the Yangtsze. It came into existence as an indirect 
result of Lord Salisbury's negotiations with the French Government con- 
cerning Yiinnan and Szechuan, and of the Anglo-French Convention of 
15 January, 1896. 



must have realised the impossibihty of attaining any such 
object by the means suggested ; nevertheless, assurances 
were given, and apparently accepted in good faith by the 
Foreign Office, that, with the admission of Germany to 
participation with the officially-supported Anglo-French 
group of financiers in Chinese loans, those safeguards and 
guarantees would be re-established whereby China would be 
compelled to admit strict supervision of loan funds' 
expenditure. By an exchange of Notes early in 1909, 
the British and French Governments had declared them- 
selves opposed to any British or French capital being lent 
to China except under such conditions of control ; they 
might therefore have been justified, as a matter of ex- 
pediency, in consenting to German participation had steps 
been taken to ensure fulfilment of the conditions of effective 
control named in the Memorandum of terms upon which 
the new Anglo- French- German combination was officially 
established. As events proved, no such conditions were 
imposed ; on the contrary, the terms upon which the 
Hukuang and Szechuan railway loans were subsequently 
concluded with the Chinese Government, revealed an un- 
mistakable tendency to relax still further the supervisionary 
safeguards, whereby the best interests of China and of her 
creditors had in the past been protected. This tendency 
became accelerated under Sheng Kung-pao's regime, and 
there can be but little doubt that, had it continued, capital 
in large amounts would have been entrusted to a dis- 
organised and more or less irresponsible Government under 
conditions likely to lead to grievous waste and corruption, 
internal unrest in the provinces, and endless complications 
abroad.^ The terms of the Currency Reform and Man- 
churian Development " loan clearly reflected the temporarily 

^ By the Birch Crisp loan, negotiated in London and concluded at the end 
of September, 1912, the Chinese Government has proved once more its dis- 
regard of all considerations other than that of obtaining foreign capital 
without any stipulations as to its honest expenditure. Every such loan 
marks a stage on the road to political and financial bankruptcy. 



profitable, but ultimately fatal, policy of floating Chinese 
loans regardless of their political and economic conse- 
quences — a policy, of Teutonic origin, which Great Britain 
for years wisely and successfully opposed, as prejudicial to 
"the independence and integrity of China." 



The admission of German participation with the Anglo- 
French combination (represented by the Hongkong and 
Shanghai Bank and the Banque de ITndo-Chine), in the 
Yangtsze railway loans, was an event sufficiently significant 
and important in itself to provoke further political com- 
plications. The correspondent of The Times at Peking, 
telegraphing on INIay 9, expressed the general wonder that 
" the British Government should delegate to one British 
bank, which is naturally compelled to consider financial 
rather than national interests, the right to assist the exten- 
sion of German influence." No sooner had British rights 
been irrevocably surrendered, however, than the Govern- 
ment of the United States intervened, formally protesting 
against ratification of the proposed railway loans, and claim- 
ing the American rights of participation recorded under the 
agreement of 1903 between Prince Ch'ing and Sir Ernest 
Satow. This was in June, 1909. Chang Chih-tung, 
advised by the agent of the Deutsch-Asiatische Bank at 
Peking, showed a disposition to ignore the American 
protest, whereupon President Taft took the unusual, but 
highly effecti\^e, step of telegraphing to the Prince Regent 
direct, forcibly insisting upon recognition of American 
rights. This telegram was described by the Peking corres- 
pondent of The Times as " directly due to the intrigues of 
the Deutsch-Asiatische Bank, whose influence over the 
Hongkong and Shanghai Bank is so injurious to British 
interests in China " ; furthermore, he said " that it was the 
opinion of many Englishmen that the British Government 


American Lec.ation Barricaded with Saxd-bags. 

F iking'. 


CiERMAN Guard on Legation Waix. 


should bring pressure to bear upon the Hong Kong and 
Shano-hai Bank to dissociate itself from these German 


intrigues, which are persistently directed, here as elsewhere, 
to bring us into a misunderstanding with the Americans."^ 

The firm attitude adopted by the United States Govern- 
ment at this juncture, and its results, served to throw into 
rehef the lack of knowledge and determination which 
characterised British policy. Chang Chih-tung, who had 
persistently violated his former pledges to Great Britain and 
contemptuously ignored the existence of the British Minister, 
was effectively brought to book in one short interview de- 
manded by the American Charge d'AfFaires. As the result 
of President Taft's message, American rights were promptly 
recognised by the Waiwupu, and Chang found himself com- 
pelled either to accept them or to abandon altogether the rail- 
way schemes to which he was publicly pledged. In the event 
of this abandonment there would be compensation payable to 
Germany for non-fulfilment of the preliminary agreement, 
which had been used to force the British position. Germany, 
having secured her footing in the Yangtsze provinces on terms 
of equality with England and France, was not prepared to 
insist on the exclusion of America ; her agents contented 
themselves, therefore, with earning further instalments of 
Chinese gratitude by sowing discord between the British and 
Amercan diplomats and financiers. At the annual meeting 
of shareholders of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank held 
at Hongkong in February, 1910, the Chairman faithfully 
reflected the aims of German policy. After observing that 
the Bank's protracted negotiations with the Chinese Govern- 
ment had resulted in a satisfactory arrangement " fulfilling 
all necessary conditions of security and providing for equal 
distribution of material benefits among the international 

^ Tempora miitantur : In an interview with a representative of the Daily 
Mail on August 26, 1912, the same authority is quoted as saying: In no 
other part of the world do Germans and English work more cordially 
together than in China. Their interests are alike commercial." 



groups interested," he deplored the fact that the revival of 
claims in another quarter had necessitated the rearrangement 
of terms and had imparted a political character to the 
negotiations, which had unfortunately retarded their comple- 
tion." With touching iidivete he contended that the fruits 
of the impending development of China " were likely to be 
shared most largely by those who, free from suspicion of 
political motives, are prepared to meet the needs of China in 
the simplest, fairest, and most practical way." Sentiments like 
these, coming at a time when Germany, with the plainest of 
political motives, had used its relations with British financiers 
to damage British prestige and encroach upon British rights, 
found no echo in the minds of Englishmen in China. The 
North China Daily News observed that " this appeal for the 
complete divorce of finance from national interests will, we 
venture to believe, meet with no response outside the financial 
circles immediately concerned." The writer, with perfect 
accuracy, charged these financial interests with having 
arrogated to themselves the disposal of British Treaty rights 
and surrendered the British commercial claim on the 
Yangtsze basin," and justly concluded : " This may be finance, 
but it is not patriotism." Public opinion in China, however, 
had no visible effect upon events. The Chinese Govern- 
ment and the " Tripartite " bankers alike having made a 
virtue of necessity, and admitted America within the " ringed 
fence " of China's loans, the " Four Nations " syndicate be- 
came the officially recognised centre of political finance in 
China. In the chapter which deals especially with " Inter- 
national Finance and World Politics " the further history of 
this syndicate is traced, and its final evolution into the " Six 
Nations " group explained. 

In a certain sense the British financiers of that group 
may be said to represent British policy, since in June 
last Sir Edward Grey was at pains to state in the House 
of Commons that His Majesty's Government had given 
tliem the assurance of its exclusive support. Thereby, as 



will be shown, he practically confided to Lombard Street 
the responsibility of defining the nature and extent of 
Russia's and Japan's " special interests in the regions beyond 
the Great Wall," even as it had been allowed to define the 
British position in the Yangtsze Valley. But if we consider 
the situation as a whole, having reference to the particular 
commercial and industrial interests of Great Britain, we are 
faced with the fact that, whereas German and French 
financiers are obliged to conform strictly to the political 
directions of their respective Governments (representing 
therefore national interests), the British group of financiers 
are, generally speaking, independent of such control. As 
we have seen, their influence in Downing Street has out- 
weighed on more than one occasion the opinions and advice 
of the British Minister at Peking. Even if the British 
financial institution which bears the chief responsibility for 
originating and guiding the China policy of the Foreign 
Ofiice were British, in the same sense that the Germans are 
German, this confiding of international politics to a selected 
group of business men might be criticised as a new 
departure, and its public announcement by a Foreign 
Secretary would remain open to serious objections; but the 
experiment might possibly be justified by results. But 
when the determination of British policy and the protection 
of British interests are confided to financiers whose cosmo- 
politan entanglements and obligations are notorious, the 
situation appears to call for something more than desultory 
and hstless questions in the House of Commons. If the 
British Government, realising that the future of China lies 
upon the knees of the gods in Lombard Street, chooses to 
appoint a financial institution as the exponent and agent of 
its policy in China, the least that Englishmen can ask is 
that the institution selected should be representative of 
purely British interests and national aims.^ Discussing this 

^ The Board of Directors of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking 
Corporation at Honkgong includes no less than four Germans. 



feature of the situation editorially on the 11th June last, 
the North China JJaily News deplored the words used 
by Sir Edward Grey, believing that " to those who do 
not know the facts of the case they will imply the responsi- 
bility of the British Government not merely for certain 
undesirable stages in the present negotiations, but for every- 
thing that the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank has done 
since the Four Nations syndicate became a name." Under 
the chapter which deals with International Finance, it will 
be seen to what lengths the Foreign Office has delegated its 
functions, and something of its authority, to financial repre- 
sentatives, English in name but cosmopolitan in fact, and 
how, as a result, Russia and Japan have been placed in a 
position to pursue their obvious intentions of exploiting 
Chinese territory with the assistance of British capital and 
the tacit support of the British Government. 


Sir Edward Grey, it is true, has laid stress upon the 
fact that His Majesty's Government incurs no financial 
liability in any of the Six Nations " syndicate s proceedings. 
It is also true that the Foreign Office has insisted, at the 
eleventh hour and for the time being, upon adequate 
guarantees for the proper expenditure of the loan proceeds," 
as a return for its monopoly of support, and as a condition 
essential to the British Government's approval of future 
issues.^ So far, so good : but the whole history of the 
British Government's political finance in the Far East is 
strewn with the lamentable wrecks of similarly good inten- 
tions : the net results may fairly be summarised as having 

^ Since this was written, independent British financiers have taken 
action of a kind which emphasises the evil results of free trade in British 
caj)ital, and shows that 13ritish capital may be lent to China under 
conditions which the British Government has formally disapproved in the 
interest of investors. 



conferred the official imprimatur on loans wherein British 
capital has been advanced to increase the demoralisation of 
the Chinese Government and to serve, at the same time, the 
political ends of our competitors. It is something, at the 
last, to have reached a point at which no financial institution, 
either British or cosmopolitan, is likely to embark on large 
loans to China against a definite expression of opinion by the 
British Government ; it is something to have perceived even 
dimly that a policy of intelligent anticipation and close 
co-operation between Downing Street and the Quai d'Orsai 
can be used to command the situation in international 
finance : but it remains to apply this knowledge to the 
purposes of a definite Imperial policy. Unfortunately, 
everything in Great Britain's attitude at Peking, from 
January to July, has reflected the purblind parochialism of 
the Labour party, of that unbalanced tail which wags the 
Liberal dog. The foresight and the good intentions of Sir 
Edward Grey have been repeatedly frustrated, in the sight 
of all men, by the Socialistic cult of the parish pump, so that 
(in the words of a correspondent of the Spectator) British 
policy in China remains a headless torso, a monument of 
culpable irresolution." 

On November 15, 1911, Sir Edward Grey telegraphed to 
the British Minister at Peking : — 

" We have conceived very friendly feelings and respect 
for Yuan Shih-k'ai. We should wish to see a Government 
sufficiently strong to deal impartially with foreign countries 
and to maintain internal order and favourable conditions for 
the progress of trade, established in China as a consequence 
of the Revolution. Such a Government would receive all 
the diplomatic support which we could give it." 

Unfortunately for British policy, as has been shown, the 
vested interests at Shanghai conceived, at the period of the 
monarchical crisis, very friendly feelings and respect for 
Yuan's opponents, so that the diplomatic support extended 



to him at that time took the form of benevolent neutraUty. 
Subsequently when, with the approval of his Majesty's 
Government, Russia and Japan had been included in the 
financial combination representing *' the Powers whose 
interests are predominant in China," and when these two 
Powers had responded by making the proposed loans to 
China a basis from which to extend their schemes of 
territorial expansion at China's expense, no information was 
forthcoming from the British Government as to its attitude 
in so vital a matter. It was evident that cosmopolitan 
finance and the exigencies of a one-sided alliance had 
combined in China, as in Persia, to place the Foreign Office 
in a position where all its good intentions and sympathies 
were frustrated. The only means by which loans of British 
capital to China could be made to serve our Imperial and 
national purposes evidently lay in the direction indicated 
by the Foreign Secretary's telegram above-quoted : yet 
within the next few months the Foreign Office became a 
party to financial proposals and international arrangements 
which nullified those purposes. 


There are two kinds of British interest in China: the 
national interest, which lies in the protection and extension 
of our trade, and the Imperial interest, which lies in 
preserving the status quo, and in safeguarding our position as 
an Asiatic Power. For the furtherance of both these 
interests, the establishment of a strong centralised Govern- 
ment at Peking is a fundamental necessity — for upon it must 
depend the maintenance of Cliina's territorial integrity and 
tlie gradual reorganisation of her finances. Yet, under the 
direction of cosmopolitan finance, the measures which have 
received the support of his JVIajesty's Government have been 
of a nature seriously to threaten the integrity of China, whilst 



they hold out no enduring hope of putting her finances on a 
sound basis. As regards this last matter, the Foreign Office 
sins deliberately, for it is well aware, and declared its know- 
ledge in 1909, that the only means by which loans can be 
made beneficial alike to Cliinese and to British interests is by 
insisting on the safeguards similar to those which have made 
the Imperial Maritime Customs the country's only perman- 
ently reliable source of revenue. Sir Edward Grey knows 
well — as, for that matter, every financier of the " Six 
Nations " group knows — that no appointments of advisers, 
however distinguished, nor of auditors, however numerous, 
can secure the honest handling of public funds, for the 
simple reason that these appointments carry neither executive 
authority, nor any measure of responsibility, to any one but 
the Chinese officials themselves. What is required is the 
appointment of thoroughly reliable European accountants, 
responsible for every dollar of expenditure, under a 
regular system of published accounts. This system works 
well, to the obvious advantage of all concerned, in the 
Northern Railways, in the Shanghai-Nanking and Kowloon 
lines, and in the Imperial INIaritime Customs. AVithout it, 
until China shall have produced honest and efficient public 
servants of her own, no other means exist to prevent every 
new loan bringing the country so much nearer to bankruptcy. 
The present proposals of the " Six Nations " group must 
inevitably lead to a repetition of the history of Turkey and 
Persia. No good reason has been advanced, either in the 
House of Commons or in the Blue Books, for lending the 
countenance of the Foreign Office or the capital of British 
investors under these conditions. If the evil must come, let 
us at least keep our free hand and a good conscience ; but a 
concerted policy between England and France in political 
finance should be able effectively to control the international 
money market and to ensure that Chinese loans are made 
for reproductive purposes only and independently of the 
political designs of individual Powers. 




Ill following the line of day-to-day expediency on the Far 
Eastern question, the Foreign Office has hitherto merely 
conformed to a long-established tradition. Where there is 
no public knowledge and little public interest there is 
evidently no need for fixed principles nor even for definite 
ideas. But it is becoming increasingly evident that the 
hand-to-mouth regime will no longer serve the purposes of 
the British Empire in Asia. India, Persia, Thibet, the 
IManchurian provinces, the future of China — all these present 
questions which can no longer be handled on any water-tight- 
compartment system, but form part of a great problem of 
world -politics, vital in its importance to Great Britain. The 
most conspicuous feature of this problem, a feature of com- 
paratively recent growth caused by the economic interde- 
pendence of the great commercial nations, is the part which 
internationalised capital is playing in the grim struggle for 
Empire and markets. One of the most notable facts about 
British foreign policy to-day is the failure of the Govern- 
ment — reflecting public opinion — to recognise the dangers 
arising from this source, and to organise and direct the use 
of British capital as a weapon of offence and defence. It is 
not only in China that Great Britain's commercial rivals, 
notably Germany and Japan, are profiting by our laissei^-aller 
methods and by our failure to co-ordinate our politics with 
our industrial and commercial aims. Examination of the 
position of British interests in all parts of the world reveals 
the rapidly increasing effect of this factor as a determinant 
of success in the struggle for markets. In Portugal, in 
Russia, even in our own Colonies, the absence of all co-ordina- 
tion between British capital and British industrial enterprise, 
and the absence of any directing policy, are gradually pro- 
ducing a state of affairs which renders British competition 
with Germany a losing game. With the exception of spas- 



modic efforts, generally due to the foresight of individuals, 
it may fairly be said that British capital, as a national source 
of strength, is wasted under existing conditions. In 
numerous instances it might even be said that this element 
of strength is used, through channels of cosmopolitan finance, 
as a weapon against the interests of this country, British 
loans being diverted to furtherance of the political ends of 
our competitors, and to the benefit of their industries. It is 
almost unnecessary to cite instances of a state of affairs 
which is now so general as to create no surprise ; when Japan 
borrows British capital for the construction of railways in 
JNIanchuria, she places her orders for railway-stock in the 
United States. When China contracts a loan in London for 
a railway line, within what was recently known as the 
British " sphere of influence," she spends a large portion of 
that money in Germany and Japan, and does not hesitate 
even at times to advertise publicly her preference for materials 
purchased from those countries. 

In France, where cosmopolitan finance has attained its 
highest form of organisation (and some of its most 
deplorable results), the Government has long since recog- 
nised the necessity for safeguarding the interests of French 
rentiers, and at the same time for controlling capital as a 
source of national strength, by legislation which virtually 
prevents any French loan from going abroad without the 
full knowledge and approval of the French Government. 
In Germany, the co-ordination between political and financial 
activities is even closer, as all our recent experience in 
Turkey and China has clearly demonstrated. Not only 
does the German Foreign Office keep in close touch with 
the movements of its financiers abroad, frequently appoint- 
ing German officials to the direction of such banks as are 
concerned in welt-politik business, but it has come to pass, 
as part of a regularly organised system, that all the great 
financial institutions are directly associated with groups of 
manufacturers and industrialists, so that the whole force 



of politics, industries and finance moves forward, along 
predetermined lines, to a common goal. In other words, 
the great commercial nations have definitely accepted the 
lesson which we in England (still under the spell of a non- 
existent Free Trade) refuse to learn — namely that commerce 
is inseparable from politics, and finance from both. The com- 
parative decline of British interests in Russia may clearly be 
traced to tliis absence of co-ordination between our industrial 
and financial interests, and the same cause and effect are 
visible in nearly every country with which we have dealings. 

The results of our lack of system and intelligent co- 
ordination of national interests in Turkey have been 
peculiarly instructive. Light has recently been thrown on 
this subject by the revelations made in the French Senate 
on the JNIorocco " conversations " between M. Cambon and 
the German Foreign Secretary, revelations which leave us 
with the unpleasant feeling that the entente cordiale, 
genuine and strong as it is, is entirely ineffective to work 
for the common good of British and French interests, so 
long as the purposes of foreign-loan finance on this side are 
not systematically directed and controlled by responsible 
authority. Given such direction and control, it would 
surely have been impossible for the Kissingen conversations 
to have assumed the direction which they eventually took, 
to the detriment of British interests in Constantinople and 
elsewhere ; it would be equally impossible for British and 
French finance to continue to work against each other. The 
Baghdad Railway affords a lamentable instance of the 
muddle-and-drift policy which has hitherto distinguished 
our foreign policy wherever cosmopolitan finance plays a 
leading part ; the time has surely come for a thorough 
revision of our methods, for agitation and for education 
of public opinion, beginning with our Chambers of Com- 
merce, to the end that British capital may in future be used 
in partibus infidelium as an element of national strength, 
directed by intelligent authority. It is not fitting that 


South Gate of Nanking, 


the benefits to be obtained from the use of that capital by- 
foreign countries should begin and end with loan flotation 
profits and underwriters' commissions, which go, in many 
instances, to denationalised financiers generally indifferent 
to the destinies and the dignity of the British Empire. 
British policy must follow the example of the scientifically- 
organised commercial Powers and insist that the uses of 
Great Britain's surplus wealth shall benefit the nation's trade 
and industries. 


Regarding the actual position of affairs in the Far East, an 
instructive parallel might be drawn between the methods 
and results of cosmopolitan finance and welt-politik in Turkey 
and China respectively, and the extent to which their activi- 
ties are responsible for the present misfortunes of each of 
these distressful countries. There are certain features 
common to the history of the " Four Nations " railway 
finance in China, and of the Baghdad line, w^hich, properly 
studied, can hardly fail to educate public opinion and point 
morals for the future. 

It is undeniable that, both in China and in Turkey, the 
economic rivalry of the great Powers has for years past been 
a chronic cause of unrest in the body politic ; it is equally 
certain that, in both countries, the intelligent and scientifi- 
cally-organised methods of Germany have succeeded in 
directing cosmopolitan finance — that is to say, much British 
and French capital — to the ultimate advancement of German 
ends political. The causes w^hich determined the failure of 
British and French policy, and deprived the entente cordiale 
of all practical value at Constantinople, which eventu ally- 
secured for German railway schemes in Asia IMinor the partial 
assistance of French capital, are precisely similar in origin 
and inspiration to the causes which brought about the 
ignominious collapse of Anglo-French prestige, and the 

289 U 


failure of Anglo-French policy, in the matter of railway 
enterprise in Central China ; direct causes, moreover, of the 
present political unrest in the latter country. Germany's 
success, in both instances, has been directly due to the fact 
that the policies of Great Britain and France alike have been 
persistently subordinated to the aims of cosmopolitan 
financiers, whose private interests and profits have outweighed 
patriotic and national considerations, while German policy, 
on the contrary, has closely co-ordinated and skilfully 
directed her financial, industrial and political forces towards 
predetermined and exclusively German ends. In those 
countries, notably Asia Minor and the Far East, where the 
development of economic interests is clearly equivalent to the 
pegging-out of political claims for the future, Germany's 
finance is essentially political in character and far-seeing in 
design. Thus, in China, we find the business of the Deutsch- 
Asiatische Bank in its close relations with Chinese officials, 
conducted by selected members of the diplomatic or Consular 
services, men with wliom the Fatherland is more than flotation 
profits and who know full well the advantages to be gained 
by dealing with those who hold the opposite view ; while at 
Constantinople, the all-pervading activities of German 
capitalists have been directed at, and from, the Embassy. 
And Germany, like Japan, takes good care to be well repre- 
sented at important strategic points, so that conquest by rail- 
way and bank, originally a Russian invention of modern 
state-craft, is being greatly perfected in German hands. 
Most of its actual force, at more than one important centre, 
is derived from the advantages which it gains from the 
lahser-aller methods of British political finance and, at the 
same time, from the peculiarly cynical form of cosmopolitan- 
ism which has its headquarters in Paris and its ramifications 
in every capital. The revelations which took place at the end 
of 1911 concerning the relations between Messrs. Caillaux and 
Messimy and German financiers, and the effect of their 
negotiations on the political position of France in the zones 



economically dependent upon the Cameroons, emphasise only 
one of the many phases of that cosmopolitan finance which, 
unless controlled, naturally subordinates every consideration 
to that of gain. The instincts which animated the French 
Congo Company of " La Forestiere " group, their cynical 
readiness to barter the honour and political preponderance 
of France for flotation profits and dividends, find their 
counterparts in the Glarus syndicate of the first Baghdad 
railway loan, and again in that Anglo-French combination 
which, despite the efforts of British and French diplomacy 
at Peking, was largely responsible for the admission of 
German finance to participation in the railway loans of the 
Yangtsze Valley.^ 

The dangers of the existing situation and of our slipshod 
methods must be apparent to everyone who carefully 
examines the principles upon which Germany and Japan 
direct their political finance. It is impossible to imagine, for 
instance, that any group of financiers, no matter how cosmo- 
politan in tendency, should be able to command and use 
German capital for the advancement of British or French 
political schemes ; the atmosphere of Berlin would be 
extremely unhealthy for the germs of any such idea. Nor 
can one imagine a German bank, working under the 
direction and enjoying the protection of the German Govern- 
ment, lending itself, either from indifference or interested 
motives, to proceedings injurious to the interests of German 
manufacturers and traders ; the Teutonic intelligence rejects 
such notions. That such a state of affairs should ever have 
existed in France is the more remarkable in view of the 
official control which the Minister of Finance is expected to 
exercise, in the interests of la petite epargne and of French 
industries, over the employment of French capital in foreign 

1 It is a significant fact that M. Caillaux is President of the Paris group 
of the "Chinese Central Railways, Ltd.," the chairman of the London 
board being Sir Carl Meyer, Bt., who is also a Director of the Hongkong 
and Shanghai Bank. 

291 U 2 


lands. Under the French system, which makes quotation of 
stocks on the Bourse dependent on the goodwill and 
authority of the Government, it is only by the ignorance or 
the complicity of the JNIinisters concerned that the savings 
of French re?itiers can be directed to purposes detrimental 
to the political and commercial interests of the nation. 
This control over the Bourse is a weapon of offence and 
defence Avhich, if intelligently and patriotically used, should 
be one of the stoutest in the national armoury : more than 
one recent episode in international politics has demonstrated 
its protective force. But, so far as England is concerned, 
the relations which have existed in the past between the 
Foreign Office and Lombard Street have been of the 
indeterminate spasmodic type which muddles through on 
free trade principles, without system, definite information or 
continuous policy. At any given moment of our foreign 
relations it is impossible to foretell with any degree of 
certainty whether Downing Street will lead Lombard Street 
or vice versa. Under such conditions it would be strange 
indeed if that section of cosmopolitan finance which has its 
inspiration and its headquarters in Berlin failed to seek and 
to find herein its opportunities and rewards. 

It is surely reasonable to hope that, since the revelations 
which led to the downfall of the Caillaux Ministry have 
drawn public attention in France and England to the 
dangers with which the purposes of the Entente are 
threatened by the uncontrolled activities of la haute finance, 
something of German vigilance and co-ordination of forces 
may be introduced into our own handling of national wealth 
as a national force. Especially necessary, at the present 
juncture, are a clear understanding and intelligent co-opera- 
tion between the British and French Governments on the 
subject of political finance in the Near and Far East. 




It is not possible to conclude this survey of British policy 
in China without a word of reference to the Anglo-Japanese 
alliance. From the British point of view, the making of 
this alliance, in 1902, was a wise and necessary measure, 
intended to check the encroachments of Russia upon 
Northern China and to safeguard our commercial interests in 
that region. It was a bold and statesmanlike embodiment 
of intelligent anticipation and it served its purposes. 
(Similarly, two years later, we acted upon an intelligent but 
brief-lived appreciation of the necessities of the situation on 
the Indian-Thibetan border.) From the Japanese point of 
view, an alliance of some sort was essential at that date. It 
is common knowledge that Prince Ito, then at St. Petersburg, 
was on the point of concluding one with Russia when, by the 
advice of Prince Katsura and the Marquis Komura, H.]\I. the 
Emperor of Japan intervened and Prince Ito was ordered 
to support Count Hayashi's negotiations in London for an 
alliance with Great Britain. The alliance thus made was 
definite in purpose and businesslike. There has never been 
anything sentimental in the foreign policy of Japan, and her 
statesmen have from the first displayed a thorough apprecia- 
tion of the fact that Treaties and Conventions between the 
gi'cat Powers may serve to conceal, but not to hinder, the 
processes of geographical gravitation and the ulterior 
purposes of statesmen. When the renewal of the Treaty 
was arranged by Lord Lansdowne and Count Hayashi, in 
August, 1905, at the same time as negotiations were 
proceeding at Portsmouth, U.S.A., for the conclusion of the 
Russo-Japanese war, the salt of the original pact had already 
lost its savour. The second agreement renewed an offensive 
and defensive alliance against contingencies which had 
ceased, for the time being, to exist, and it ignored the vital 
facts of the essentially changed conditions produced by 



Russia's defeat. There may have been — no doubt there 
were — benevolent theorists who believed that Japan had 
fought her costly war to ensure the " mdependence and 
integrity of the Chinese Empire and the principle of equal 
opportunities for the commerce and industry of all nations in 
China," but every practical statesman and political economist 
realised that the war was an inevitable result of economic 
pressure in Japan, and that if she disputed Russia's 
territorial ambitions in the thinly populated and fertile 
regions beyond the Great Wall, it was because of that 
pressure, and of the imperative needs of her congested and 
o\ er-taxed population to find outlets for expansion. It was 
absurd to suppose that the Portsmouth Treaty, or any other 
diplomatic convention, could protect China from the conse- 
quences of her own helpless inefficiency — any more than 
INlr. Hay's " open door " agreements had prevented the 
steady advance of Russia. The renewal of the Anglo- 
Japanese alliance presupposed identity of interests under 
conditions wherein everything pointed clearly to divergent 
policies and aims, and the Sino- Japanese agreement, concluded 
shortly afterwards in Peking, emphasised the fact. By virtue 
of her geographical situation and her new military prestige, 
Japan could not only assert preponderant political claims at 
Peking, but she could hope to push her trade and industries 
throughout China in successful competition with the 
European Powers, her ally included. The sentimental and 
other obligations of the alliance placed Great Britain in a 
position which made it difficult to take exception to 
proceedings precisely similar to those which, committed by 
Russia, had aroused the strongest opposition. From the 
outset, it became apparent that the Portsmouth Treaty was 
a dead letter in so far as its essential clauses were concerned, 
those which guaranteed the maintenance of China's unim- 
paired rights of sovereignty in Manchuria. When, for 
instance, in November, 1909, Earl Stanhope in the House of 
Lords inquired wliether His Majesty's Government did not 



consider it advisable " to determine the geographical limits 
within which the Japanese Government was entitled to veto 
such measures as the Chinese Gov^ernment might desire to 
take for the development of Manchuria and Mongolia," the 
Earl of Crewe deprecated the raising of such delicate 
questions and observed that the matter was one for 
arrangement between the Governments of China and Japan. 
The Portsmouth Treaty and all the other conventions and 
agreements which guarantee the integrity of China are 
tacitly recognised to be of no more effect than those which 
guaranteed the integrity of Korea. As a matter of practical 
utility and national dignity, the renewal of the alliance was 
therefore undesirable, if only because England becomes 
thereby identified with all the proceedings of her ally. The 
" face " of both Governments has been duly preserved by 
repeated declarations of loyalty and mutual confidence, but 
the fact remains, that the declared objects of the renewed 
alliance, like the intentions of the Portsmouth Treaty, were 
opposed to those instincts of self-preservation which ultim- 
ately govern the policies of every nation and opposed to the 
fundamental laws of evolution. Both have been rendered 
superfluous, not to say ridiculous, by the Russo-Japanese 
entente, whereby the wisdom of Prince Ito has finally been 

Broadly viewed, all the policies of modern States reflect, 
in a greater or less degree, the vital problems created by 
economic pressure. Thus considered, the avowed purposes 
of the present Anglo-Japanese alliance constitute a polite 
evasion of facts and of necessities as imperative in their way 
as the Monroe doctrine or the Panama Canal policy of the 
United States. If, leaving the Japanese side of the question, 
we turn to consider in the same light the latest manifestations 
of British policy in the Far East, we perceive that they reflect 
the parochial outlook of the Government's Socialist and 
Labour parties, and the electorate's inability to realise the 
direct bearing of an Imperial policy and foreign markets 



on the new problems created by economic pressure in 
the British Isles. Under such conditions, the line of least 
resistance, the traditional tendency to "diminish the points 
of contact," though opposed to all the avowed aims of British 
policy in the past, possesses undeniable attractions in the 
present. The Anglo-Saxon mind adapts itself slowly to 
changes in its environment : a characteristic of the race which 
makes for stability when the changes are gradual, a source of 
weakness when they are complex and rapid. A nation which 
has not yet realised the necessity for national military service 
as a condition of national existence, and which believes in the 
possibility of Free Trade, long after the thing itself has 
disappeared, cannot be expected to appreciate the significance 
of the swift march of events in furthest Asia. The best that 
can be expected is that the statesmen and publicists whose 
duty it is to educate public opinion in matters of national 
importance, should perceive, amidst the turmoil of events and 
changing conditions in China, the points at which British 
interests are most likely to be threatened — to perceive, for 
instance, the importance of maintaining the Chinese Monarchy 
as compared to the risks of a brief trade boycott ; the advan- 
tages of a definitely British policy, however defective, as com- 
pared with the machinations of international finance, • To 
the most superficial observer in Tokyo and St. Petersburg, it 
must have been apparent from the outset that England was 
not likely to oppose either Russia or Japan in any aggression 
they may commit on China, lest either or both of these 
Powers should be drawn into the orbit of German welt-politik. 
This central fact is patent and its consequences must necess- 
arily be serious : but even so, there would seem to be no 
necessity for tamely surrendering our strategic positions 
or for gratuitously playing into the hands of our rivals. For 
the Russo-Japanese entente is no more the last word on the 
Far Eastern question than was the Anglo-Japanese alliance. 


J'iioto, Le Munyon, Peking. 

Chang Kuei-ti's Troops (Manchus) by whom Okder was Restored 
after the mutiny of february 29th. 

Plioto, Le Munyon, Peking. 

U.S.A. Troops, Peking (March, 1912.) 



Fitfully, but unmistakably, the policy of the United 
States in the Far East during the past decade reflects an 
increasing sense of the responsibilities which the nation 
assumed when, after the war with Spain, it set forth upon 
its Imperial way as a world Power. This beyond all 
doubt ; but for those who watch carefully the political 
skies, it reflects also other things. It reflects the eternal 
instinct of self-preservation, strong in nations as in in- 
dividuals, adapting itself to a changing environment ; the 
gradual passing of the American people from agricultural 
to industrial means of livelihood ; the growing conscious- 
ness of economic pressure ; sl vision not far distant, of the 
nation's need of new markets for the produce of its town 
dwellers and new places in the sun ; the steady impact of 
congested Europe expressing itself in new forces of ex- 
pansion. The lofty Imperialism with which Mr. Roosevelt 
inaugurated the ** Pacific Era " at San Francisco in 1903 
stands, as a signal post, at the parting of the ways. The 
safeguards of seclusion were henceforth abandoned ; the 
" geographical barriers " of the old Monroe doctrine went 
down, almost unperceived, with the annexation of the 
Philippines. The American people had taken on the white 
man's burden ; they must pay the price of greatness. And, 
whatever the misgivings of the few, the many have cheer- 
fully shouldered that burden. We hare no choice," says 



My. Taft, " we people of the United States, as to whether 
or not we shall play a great part in the world. That has 
been determined for us by fate, by the march of events. 
We have to play that part ; all that we can decide is 
whether we shall play it well or ill." 

The record of American foreign policy since 1898 bears 
eloquent testimony to the dilemmas of a transition state, to 
the difficulty of reconciling the doctrines of the old dis- 
pensation with the inevitable consequences of the new. It 
was difficult for instance, for a country that had passed the 
Dingley Tariff Bill, to preach the gospel of the " open 
door " ; difficult for a Government compelled to insist on 
the exclusion of Asiatics, to proclaim the brotherhood of 
man and the gospel of equal opportunity; difficult to 
reconcile " dollar-diplomacy " with the fundamental prin- 
ciples of the Monroe doctrine, and the " avoidance of en- 
tanglements with the broils of Europe." But the logic of 
events is more convincing than the logic of reason ; the big 
stick of necessity stronger than the olive branches of abstract 
justice. In considering the foreign policy pursued at 
Washington since the United States' supremacy became 
established in the long-disputed region of the Panama 
Canal, we are every w^here confronted by constantly recurr- 
ing symptoms of conflict between the nation's conscience 
and the nation's needs. Everywhere we see the American 
people's high ideals of humanitarianism and justice, its 
chivalrous impulses of altruism, its quixotic sympathy for 
the " under dog," struggling against the inevitable results of 
vigorous nationalism and ambitions of expansion. In the 
Caribbean Sea, as in the Pacific, in Mexico as in Manchuria, 
we find, side by side with a just perception of the claims of 
humanity and civilisation, a very clear and business-like 
appreciation of the present and future needs of the Great 
Republic. The spirit which impelled it to lay its hands 
upon Panama and to set its outposts in the far Pacific, 
represents the nation's collective consciousness of the world's 



mass pressure of population ; against which grim fact 
philanthropists and peacemakers struggle all in vain. The 
causes which have led the United States to dismember 
Colombia and control Panama are the same, in their 
economic origin, as those which impel the Japanese towards 
Manchuria; the causes which led the United States Senate to 
discriminate in favour of American shipping in the matter 
of canal tolls, are the same as those which lead the Japanese 
to favour their own people in the matter of rates on the 
Manchuria Railways. The polite fictions with which all 
countries, for decency's sake, are accustomed to veil such 
proceedings, are the last tribute which hard facts pay to 
idealism. Of all the oaths and pledges taken by self- 
deceiving humanity, those sworn by Governments to each 
other are the least binding. 


The emergence of the United States into the field of 
world politics coincided with a period in which the restrain- 
ing force of Treaties and Conventions had diminished to 
vanishing point. With the seizure of Kiaochao by 
Germany in 1897 and a general perception of Russia's 
forward pohcy in the Far East, the modern world appeared, 
indeed, to have entered upon an era of international piracy 
tempered with benevolent sentiments, a period in which the 
rights of the weaker nations were to be brushed aside with 
brutal cynicism ; when the monarch who had convened the 
first international Peace Conference was planning the 
conquest of a new Eastern Empire, and when the chief 
signatory States were making themselves ready for war ; 
when political platforms resounded with professions of 
universal peace and goodwill, that served but to mask 
new moves in the inevitable struggle for supremacy and 
survival. Whenever a nation's vital interests of self- 
preservation are concerned, the dreams of Mr. Carnegie 



and the graceful conventions of diplomacy recede alike into 
the far distance. 

Subsequent to the decline of American shipping, after the 
disappearance from the Pacific of the Canton clippers and 
the Honolulu whaling fleets, the interests of the United 
States in China, until the close of the century, were 
chiefly confined to the protection of its missionaries. It 
must be remembered that not until 1847 did California 
become included in the Union. It was then that the 
country acquired its first coast line, and its first proprietory 
outlook, on the Pacific. Six years before the Civil War, 
the famous expedition of Commodore Perry to Japan had 
aroused the enthusiasm of the American people and a 
general interest in the destinies of the Asiatic empires on the 
other side of the Pacific ; but this interest passed with the 
passing of the mercantile marine, and the eyes of the nation 
thereafter turned eastwards and not west. Twenty-five years 
later, the annual exports of American goods to China had 
barely reached a million dollars ; the interest of the man 
in the street, strictly intent on business, remained therefore 
languidly platonic where the Far East w^as concerned. 

In 1900, although the Pacific Era " may be said to have 
begun with the acquisition of the Philippines and the 
Panama Canal rights, and although American exports had 
risen to sixteen millions of dollars, the policy of " avoiding 
entanglements in the broils of Europe," logically resultant 
from the Monroe doctrine, was reflected in the half-hearted 
participation of the United States in the march of the 
Allies to the relief of the Pekinof Uecrations. The State 
Department, however, was not long in reconciling the facts 
of the situation with the immediate requirements of its new 
Imperial policy. At first sight it seemed impossible — as 
indeed it does to logical minds to-day — to continue to 
regard the Atlantic Ocean as a geographical barrier, while 
declaring the Pacific to be no such thing. Could America 
claim the right to an active part in the affairs of Eastern 



Asia while bound by the traditional policy of the Monroe 
doctrine ? 

The Anglo-Saxon mind has a special aptitude for making 
virtues of necessities ; it is not wont to indulge doctrinaire 
weaknesses to the point where they clash with actual or 
potential interests. It was not likely that any accepted 
interpretation of the Monroe doctrine would prevent the 
Government at Washington from following the new road 
of the nation's Imperial destinies overseas. Therefore, the 
face of the famous doctrine was saved, but slightly changed, 
to meet actual circumstances. It was decided that the 
principle of non-interference in the affairs of Europe did not 
preclude the annexation of the Philippines or other islands 
in the Pacific. Captain Mahan gave this solution of the 
problem a semi-official imprimatur by the expression of his 
authoritative opinion that " Europe, construed by the 
Monroe doctrine, would include Africa, with the Levant 
and India ... it would not include Japan, China, nor the 
Pacific generally." It will be observed that this definition, 
while opening Asia to the Americans, made no provisions 
for the possibility of Asiatics seeking reciprocity of oppor- 
tunities in America — an oversight that has recently 
necessitated a further extension of the Monroe doctrine,^ 
and will, no doubt, involve its drastic amendment in the 
near future. 

Mr. Roosevelt's " Pacific Era " speech at San Francisco in 
1903 voiced the expansionist ideals that had taken hold on 
the imagination of the American people, dreams of far- 
reaching dominion and the mastery of the Pacific. " The 
extension in the area of our domain," said he, " has been 
immense: the extension in the area of our influence even 

1 Senator Lodge's Resolution, adopted by the Senate in August, 1912, 
precludes foreign State-controlled corporations or associations from be- 
coming possessed of harbours or places on the American continent. This 
Resolution arose directly from the rumours of attempts being made by the 
Japanese Government to obtain by purchase land for a coaling station 
at Magdalena Ba3\ 



greater. America's geographical position on the Pacific is 
such as to ensure peaceful domination of its waters in the 
future, if we only grasp with sufficient resolution the 
advantages of that position." However much purists and 
sticklers for the rights of nations may cavil at Mr. 
Roosevelt's language and diplomatic methods, there is little 
doubt but that his all-pervading spirit of buoyant vitality 
appeals to the man in the street, and that, in the main, they 
represent a policy of enlightened self-interest necessitated by 
world politics and justified by results. No doubt the idea 
of a " peaceful domination " of the Pacific, like Mr. 
Roosevelt's gospel of the large family, contains in itself a 
denial of all the dreams of universal brotherhood and peace 
with which American philanthropists have been so promi- 
nently identified; the man in the street is no logician, and 
in his innermost heart, he usually says, *' my country, right 
or wrong." I took the Panama Canal zone," says Mr. 
Roosevelt, " and left the discussion to Congress," and 
public opinion endorses the result, if not the method, just as 
it applauded his declaration eight years before that " to the 
United States must belong the dominion of the Pacific." 

America's position in china. 

When, as a natural consequence of the dawn of the 
** Pacific Era," American statesmen turned their serious 
attention to China, after the restoration of diplomatic rela- 
tions in 1900, they found themselves confronted with several 
difficult and delicate problems. With a view to securing 
equal opportunities in the development of China's trade, 
which then (as now) was popularly believed to offer a vast 
field for commercial enterprise, their first object was to 
prevent the partition of China, and particularly the absorp- 
tion of Manchuria — America's best market in the East — by 
Russia. Their next task was to regain the confidence and 
good-will of the Chinese, rudely shaken by the enforcement 



of the Chinese immigrants Exclusion Acts. The value of 
the Chinese market to American manufacturers had been 
steadily increasing; in 1902, for the first time, exports from 
the United States to China exceeded the imports from that 
country. England's policy of the " open door " offered a 
solution of the first problem. The State Department 
espoused it as warmly as any free-traders could wish, and 
Mr. Secretary Hay addressed a circular Note to the Treaty 
Powers asking their adherence to the general principles of 
equal opportunities for trade and the integrity of Chinese 
territory. The Powers responded with suitable expressions 
of their disinterested devotion to both principles, and the 
Press of the world rejoiced over so conspicuous a triumph of 
benevolent diplomacy. The paper victory was manifest: 
the fact that Russia continued to tighten her grip on 
Manchuria, advancing the while her lines of attack to the 
Yangtsze, while Germany held fast to her exclusive sphere 
in Shantung, was tacitly ignored by common consent. On 
the 30th January, 1902, England's offensive and defensive 
alliance with Japan cast the first shadow of coming events 
by defining " the common interests of all Powers in China " 
to be identified with maintenance of " the independence and 
integi'ity of the Chinese Empire and the principle of equal 
opportunities for the commerce and industry of all nations." 
The United States, a new comet in the field of world politics, 
had asserted the threatened rights of the Powers. Japan, 
another new comet, was now preparing to prove the funda- 
mental truth that Treaties and Conventions bind only the 
weaker contracting party and that the destinies of nations 
depend not on such instruments, but upon national efficiency 
and material force. But America's diplomacy served its 
purpose for the time being, in securing the respect and good- 
will of the Chinese, who had hitherto been wont to regard 
the Government at Washington as a well-meaning but 
ineffective peace-maker in ordinary. 




The conciliation of the Chinese in the matter of 
immigration laws was a more delicate matter. It was, 
indeed, difficult for a nation which, in claiming the " open 
door," professed the loftiest principles of disinterested 
benevolence, logically to support the policy which had 
excluded the Chinese not only from the United States, but 
from its newly-acquired possessions in the Pacific. If 
Treaties and Conventions were any evidence of good 
intentions, the Chinese could, and did, take their stand 
upon the Burlingame Treaty (of 1868), w^hich proclaimed 
America's and China's " cordial recognition of the inherent 
and inalienable right of man to change his home and 
allegiance, and also the mutual advantage of the free 
immigration of their citizens and subjects respectively, from 
one country to the other, for purposes of curiosity, of trade, 
or as permanent residents." China, gladly subscribing to 
these lofty principles, had alleviated her economic pressure 
by sending large numbers of her industrious subjects to 
the United States, rendering material first aid in the 
development of California. It was not to be expected 
that the Chinese Government or people should appreciate 
the new American point of view in this matter, based, as 
it was, not on broad humanitarianism, but on a ruthless 
race instinct of self-preservation. Ten years only had 
elapsed between the signing of the Burlingame Treaty and 
the first Exclusion Bill in Congress. In 1904, the measures 
actually enforced against Chinese immigrants were not only 
technically illegal, but the savage brutality displayed in the 
murder of Chinese labourers by Californian mobs, and the 
indignities inflicted on well-educated Chinese by the San 
Francisco Customs, had aroused the deepest resentment, 
especially at Canton. The upper classes' sense of justice 
and reason was outraged, whilst the lower realised that 


J'hoto. Lc Mii/tjon, r 

American Guard ox City Wall, Pekinc;, March 191 2. 


they had been suddenly cut off from a new world of equal 
opportunities. " Have not the Chinese eyes ? Have not 
the Chinese hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, 
passions ? ... If you prick us, do we not bleed ? If you 
tickle us, do we not laugh ? If you poison us, do we 
not die ? And if you wrong us, shall we not avenge ? If 
we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that." 

Thus, in effect, spake Young China to the Government 
at Washington, and to the American Minister at Peking; 
and after the triumph of Japan over Hussia, its sentiments, 
hitherto mildly remonstrative, began to be expressed with 
no uncertain voice. The officials who were in charge of 
China's foreign relations at Peking were, as I have shown, 
mostly men who had received their education in America ; 
who perceived and resented the fact that America's policy 
of righteous solicitude for the rights of the Chinese in China 
in no manner affected its cruel and unjust treatment of the 
Chinese in America. T'ang-Shao-yi, who had learned his 
politics at Columbia College, was never disposed to turn the 
other cheek to the smiter : there is little room to doubt 
that the anti- American boycott of 1905 was inspired, if 
it was not directed, by the Cantonese politicians, north and 
south. In Chihli and the north, generally, there was little 
or no stoppage of trade in American goods ; but at all the 
provincial capitals of Central and Southern China, the 
organisation and influence of the Cantonese Guilds were 
sufficient to make it extremely effective. In a sense, this 
boycott was a manifestation of the enthusiastic spirit of 
militant nationalism with which Young China was seized 
after the triumph of Japan over Russia, and of revenge for 
the American exclusion legislation ; it was evidently a 
Cantonese rather than a national movement ; nevertheless, as 
an indication of new forces and new tendencies, its signifi- 
cance was unmistakable, and public opinion in the United 
States was visibly impressed. On the 26th of June, a 
Presidential Message addressed to Diplomatic and Consular 

30.5 X 


representatives conveyed, an intimation that the United 
States Government would, for the future, guarantee admission 
to America and courteous treatment to Chinese travellers 
and students. Unrestricted Chinese immigration was im- 
possible, of course — it would mean civil war on the Pacific 
slope — but everything else that could be done to gain the 
friendship of Young China must be attempted. 


Fortunately, the opportunity was at hand of proving once 
more, in the role of international peace-maker, America's 
sincere desire to make amends to China for the offences of 
California, for the discreditable Hankow-Canton Railway fiasco 
and other sins of omission unredressed, and at the same time 
to display effective philanthropy on China's behalf. The 
Portsmouth Treaty, concluded under American auspices on 
the 23rd of August, 1905, marked a turning point of America's 
policy in the Far East. President Roosevelt received full 
credit in China for his initiative in bringing about the ter- 
mination of hostilities ; and the Government at Peking 
recognised in Articles HI, IV, and VII of the Treaty a new 
affirmation of the inviolability of Chinese territory guaranteed 
by the late combatants before the eyes of all the world. ^ At 
the beginning of the war, America had been instrumental in 

^ These articles possess only a melancholy retrospective interest to-day, 
having served merely to demonstrate the futility of Treaties that clash 
with the interests of the strong : nevertheless, the reader may do well 
to study them in the light of actual events in Manchuria. 

Art. III. — The Imperial Government of Russia declare that they have 
not in Manchuria any territorial advantages or preferential or exclusive 
concessions in impairment of Chinese sovereignty or inconsistent with the 
principle of equal opportunity. 

Art. IV. — Japan and Russia reciprocally engage not to obstruct any 
general measures, common to all countries, which China may take for the 
development of the commerce and industry of Manchuria. 

Art. VII. — Japan and Russia engage to exploit their respective railways 
in Manchuria exclusively for commercial and industrial purposes, and in 
no wise for strategic purposes. 



protecting China's territory and dignity by securing a reason- 
able limitation of the area of hostilities, and previous to this, 
she had led the Chinese Goveriunent, for its own protection 
as well as for the advancement of American commerce, to 
open Moukden and Antung to the trade of the Treaty 
Powers. The conclusion of the Portsmouth Treaty, and the 
conciliatory spirit displayed at Washington on the subject of 
the boycott, placed American relations with China on a foot- 
ing of exceptional cordiality. The sympathetic attitude 
shown by American missionaries in the East and by the Press 
in America towards Young China, emphasised a rapproche- 
vient which was founded, in the first instance, on a timely 
coincidence of the national conscience with national interests. 
Finally, the arrangement by which America refunded to China 
a large portion of the Boxer indemnity,^ and China's under- 
taking to devote this money to the sending of Chinese students 
to the United States, gave to the relations of the two coun- 
tries an element of solid friendship based on mutual benefits. 
To Mr. Rockhill, America's just and far-seeing Minister at 
Peking, belongs a large share of the credit of a policy which 
greatly advanced the prestige and influence of his country in 
the Far East. The cnnour propre of the Americans, on their 
side, was flattered by the fact that the leaders of the Young 
China movement, from wdiom they expected the regeneration 
of the ancient Empire, drew much of the inspiration of their 
reform programme from the United States. Thus, at the 
end of 1905, everything concerning China was couleitr de rose ; 
spheres of influence were to be abolished, the open door and 
equal opportunities established for all time. A regenerate 
China, guided by the Great Republic, Avould speedily make 
her way, as Japan had done, to an honourable place among 

^ There were two precedents for this payment of political conscience- 
money. In 1885, the United States Government had refunded to China 
nearly half a million dollars paid in connection with riot claims. Similarly, 
in 1883, it had handed back to Japan, twenty years after the bombard- 
ment of Shimonobeki, its share of the indemnity levied on that occasion. 

307 X 2 


the nations. As Sun Yat-sen observed at the auspicious 
opening of another epoch, " everywhere a beautiful repose 
doth reign." 

Nevertheless, for the nation whose leading statesmen had 
proclaimed the mastery of the Pacific to be America's 
predestined birth-right, the decisive emergence of Japan 
into the front rank of the world's great Powers was bound 
to necessitate a readjustment of policy in certain directions 
and careful consideration of possible consequences. With 
the invincible optimism that characterises official altruists, 
Washington appeared, indeed, to believe that, by the 
signing of the Portsmouth Treaty, an essential change 
had been wrought in the political and economic conditions 
of the Far East ; that, by some mysterious virtue of 
diplomacy, the law of the survival of the fittest had been 
definitely suspended. In the face of the specific declara- 
tions of the Portsmouth Treaty, not to mention the avowed 
objects of the Anglo-Japanese alliance and the solemn anti- 
bellum pledges spontaneously given to the world by the 
Japanese Government, it was evidently not to be appre- 
liended that Japan would do anything to encroach upon 
or contest China's sovereign rights in Manchuria. The 
extreme cordiality of the relations existing between America 
and Japan during the course of the war, plainly manifested 
in the enthusiastic reception given to Mr. Taft on his way 
to Manila, was sufficient in itself to guarantee the main- 
tenance of the status quo and to disprove the pessimistic 
opinions of those who persisted in considering political 
problems from the standpoint of biological science. There 
were disquieting symptoms, it is true, in more than one 
quarter. The Treaties which guaranteed the independence 
of Korea, under solemn declarations of the Powers (includ- 
ing America), had gone down before the stern logic of 
facts ; the Peking Agi'eement of December, 1905, 
negotiated by Japan in conformity with Articles V and VI 
of the Portsmouth Treaty, was understood to contain sup- 



plementary clauses of a nature to suggest rocks ahead. A 
considerable section of public opinion in Japan was bitterly 
disappointed at the terms of peace arranged at Portsmouth 
and resentful over America's share in that business ; and 
the attitude of California on the subject of Japanese 
immigration was anything but cordial. Nevertheless, the 
Government at Washington pinned its faith to the 
maintenance of the open door and the permanence of 
Chinese sovereignty in the Three Eastern provinces. 


This faith was soon to be tested. Immediately after the 
signature of the Portsmouth Treaty, in September, 1905, 
the American railway magnate, Mr. E. H. Harriman, a 
man with a passion for thinking in continents, concluded 
with Marquis Ito and Marquis Katsura, a Memorandum 
of agreement for joint American- Japanese ownership and 
working of the South Manchurian Railway, together with 
the various coal, timber and mining concessions which the 
Russians had extracted by pressure or bribery from Chinese 
officials, and of which the Japanese Government (under 
Article VI of the then unratified Portsmouth Treaty) 
proposed to obtain the reversion. This joint working 
scheme, to be financed with American capital, was to form 
a link in Mr. Harriman's projected round-the-world trans- 
portation system. The Memorandum was necessarily 
provisional ; but the fact that statesmen of the calibre 
of Ito and Katsura should have favourably entertained the 
proposal throws an instructive light on subsequent events, 
and suggests an interesting train of thought as to the 
possible development of the situation had Great Britain 
shown any intelligent anticipation of events, and had the 
British Government evinced any decided intention of main- 
taining the avowed principles of the Anglo-Japanese alliance. 

Mr. Harriman's agreement could not ha\ e been com- 



pleted, in any event, until after the ratification of the 
Portsmouth Treaty and until China's consent to its 
provisions had been obtained. The Treaty was ratified on 
the 5th of November, and on the 22nd of December 
Count Komura concluded his Peking agreement with the 
Chinese Government, greatly assisted towards the una vowed 
purposes of the Supplementary Clauses " by the venal 
tractability of Na Tung, President of the Waiwupu. 
Upon the conclusion of this momentous agreement, which 
put an end to the open-door shibboleths of the Portsmouth 
Treaty, Count Komura telegraphed to Tokyo, and Mr. 
Harriman was duly informed, that the Chinese Govern- 
ment would not consent to the admission of American 
capital to the South Manchurian Railway system, desiring 
themselves, in due coarse, to join the Japanese in working 
it ! T'ang Shao-yi, who was chiefly concerned with the 
detail work of the negotiations on the Chinese side, stated 
at Washington, in 1908, that the Japanese representative 
had never explained Mr. Harriman's proposals, and that the 
Chinese Government had certainly never declined them ; 
but the whole of the proceedings on both sides are so 
instinct with duplicity and diplomatic sharp practice that it 
is impossible to form an opinion on the real merits of this 
particular question. Japan's refusal, in 1909, to submit to 
the Hague the Antung-Moukden Railway dispute arising 
out of this agreement, is only one of many significant 
features of a situation thoroughly characteristic of modern 
statecraft. In the light of subsequent events, however, we 
are justified in concluding that Count Komura, fully ap- 
preciating the actual strength of his country's position and 
the probable tendency of world politics in the future, 
thought it advisable to keep Manchuria free from American 
" entanglements " and the prospect of joint control. As 
events proved, Japan had no difficulty in raising in England 
the capital required for the restoration of the South 
Manchurian Railway ; and with characteristic savoii^ faire, 



she spent a considerable part of this loan in purchasing 
railway equipment in the United States. No more was 
heard, for the time being, of Mr. Harriman's scheme, but 
the idea was germinating, nevertheless, at the State 
Department, and was to bear its fruit in due season.^ 

In the summer of 1906 Russian officials connected with 
the Chinese Eastern (Siberian) Railway approached 
American capitalists with a proposal to sell that line, and 
negotiations of a desultory kind proceeded at intervals 
until the autumn of 1909, when Mr. Secretary Knox's 
neutralisation scheme " completely changed the situation 
and precipitated the Russo-Japanese entente. 

In the meanwhile, the Chinese Government, represented 
by T'ang Shao-yi, realising the significance of Japan's 
disinterested friendship, was endeavouring by all possible 
means to enlist the active sympathy and support of the 
United States and Great Britain in Manchuria, by offering 
opportunities for railway construction to American and 
English capitalists and contractors. In August, 1907, T ang 
Shao-yi, having been appointed Governor of Feng Tien, a 
project was arranged between him and Mr. W. D. Straight, 
United States Consul-General at Moukden, for the creation 
of a Manchurian Bank, financed by American capital, to be 
the financial agent of the JNIanchurian Government, and 
to undertake the construction (in co-operation with Messrs. 
Pauling and Co., the British railway contractors) of a line 
from Hsin-min-tun to Aigun, and other important enter- 
prises " for the development of the commerce and industry 
of Manchuria," which by the Portsmouth Treaty, Russia 
and Japan had agreed not to obstruct. 

Owing to the financial panic prevailing at that time in 
the United States the project was delayed, but in the 

^ Baron Goto^ at that time Minister of Communications in Tokyo, dis- 
cussing the " neutraUsation scheme" three years later, stated that Mr. 
Harriman's proposals had been frequently laid before him, but that he 
had consistently held the opinion that Japan was well able to finance the 
South Manchurian Railway without inviting joint control. 




summer of 1908 JNlr. Straight took with him to Washington 
a Memorandum, signed by the Governor of Moukden, which 
was to form the basis of negotiations for a loan of £20,000,000 
for the estabhshment of the Manchurian Bank. In the 
meanwhile, subject to financial arrangements, the Man- 
churian Government had concluded an agreement with 
Lord fFrench, representing Messrs. Pauling and Co., for the 
construction of a railway running southwards from Tsitsihar 
to connect with the Imperial Railways of North China. 
The Manchurian Bank was to undertake, with American 
capital, the extension of this line from Tsitsihar to Aigun. 

For the satisfactory completion of projects of such 
magnitude it was necessary that a competent and respon- 
sible representative of China should discuss the details in 
person at Washington and New York. T'ang Shao-yi was 
therefore appointed on a special Mission to America, and 
left Peking on the 24th of September. To prevent this 
mission from being regarded with suspicion by other 
Powers, an Imperial Decree had announced that T ang 
Shao-yi has been ordered carefully to examine into the 
systems of financial administration employed by other 
countries and to report to the Throne thereon, with a view 
to the selection of a scheme for adoption." At the same 
time, it was given out that the specific purpose of his visit 
to Washington was to return the thanks of the Chinese 
Government for America's generosity in refunding portions 
of the Boxer indemnity. En route to the United States 
he was to visit Tokyo, to discuss with Count Komura and 
Mr. Ijuin (Japanese Minister at Peking) various Manchurian 
questions, and notably that of the Fakumen Railway, an 
Anglo-Chinese undertaking which the Japanese Government 
had vetoed earlier in the year. 

T'ang Shao-yi left Peking, saluted on his departure by a 
guard of honour from the American Legation. To 
emphasise the cordiality of existing relations, and with a 
lively sense of benefits to come, the Chinese Government 


H.I.H, Prince Tsai-Fu, son of the Prince Tsai-Chen 
(Special Ambassador, with T'ang-Shao-yi, to America in 1908). 



proceeded to organise a magnificent reception for the 
American fleet, which was due to arrive at Amoy in 


At the beginning of November, Mr. Harriman's bankers, 
Messrs. Kuhn, Loeb and Co., had signified to the State 
Department their readiness to undertake to finance the 
Manchurian Bank, if satisfactory terms could be arranged. 
T ang Shao-yi reached W ashington on the 30th of November. 
On the same day, the American Government exchanged 
wdth Mr. Takahira, the Japanese Ambassador at Washing- 
ton, its Notes embodying an understanding in regard to the 
two countries' respective and mutual interests in the Pacific. 
The Japanese Ambassador had pressed the State Depart- 
ment to complete this exchange of Notes before the arrival 
of the Chinese envoy, but the State Department considered 
it advisable to defer signature until T ang Shao-yi had had 
an opportunity of seeing the documents and expressing his 
opinion in the matter. Some days before, the American 
Minister at Peking had communicated the text of the Note 
to the Waiwupu expressing the hope that Cliina would 
recognise therein " the logical outcome of America's 
traditional and frequently enunciated policy of friendliness 
to China, and her desire to see the maintenance of its 
territorial and administrative integrity." The Waiwupu, as 
usual, was greatly pleased. 

The Note was less remarkable for what it expressed than 
for what it left unsaid. It recorded the desire of both 
Governments "to encourage the free and peaceful develop- 
ment of their commerce on the Pacific Ocean," their firm 
determination " to support, by all pacific means at their dis- 
posal, the independence and integrity of China and the 
principle of equal opportunity," and their intention " to 
maintain the existing status quo in the region above men- 
tioned," As nobody was in a position, or prepared, to define 



the existing status quo, the document practically amounted 
to an exposition of the materials with which the lower 
regions are supposed to be paved. It merely added one 
more to the number of assurances solemnly exchanged 
between the Powers, and believed by none, that China's de- 
fenceless state would be respected for the ultimate benefit of 
humanity. To China, remembering the fate of Korea 
protected by similar assurances, these continual protestations 
of innocent intentions were naturally rather disturbing : she 
looked, therefore, with the more hope to the enlightened 
self-interest of the commercial Powers — and the outlook was 
distinctly promising as far as America was concerned. 

But destiny had intervened. The Emperor Kuang Hsii 
had died on the 14th of November, and the great Empress 
Dowager on the following day. With the accession of the 
Regent, Yuan Shih-k'ai's power and his policies were 
doomed, and with them, the mission of T'ang Shao-yi. 
Tieh-Liang, the corrupt Manchu, Yuan's life-long enemy, 
was known to be most favourably disposed {et pour cause) 
towards Japan. He was able to persuade the Regent that 
Yuans American policy was a blunder, citing the text of the 
Washington Notes as evidence that the United States 
Government was more likely to assist Japan than to protect 
Cliina. T'ang Shao-yi himself was convinced that the 
Japanese Ambassador had pressed for the signature of these 
Notes in order to wreck the Manchurian loan scheme. In 
any case, he felt his position to be so precarious that all virtue 
of energy departed from him and he sat with folded hands 
awaiting his recall. It came on the 8th of January, whereupon 
T'ang retired to China and to private life. The stars in their 
courses had fought against China's forlorn hope. Before 
leaving America, however, T'ang outlined proposals for a 
£G0, 000,000 loan, to be financed by an international syndicate 
for purposes of currency reform and to provide the Chinese 
Government with funds during the transition period which 
must occur if effect were to be given to the lekin abolition 



scheme of the Mackay Treaty. In other words, he recognised 
that the time had come to abandon patriotic for utihtarian 
finance, on orthodox mandarin principles. 

Early in December negotiations were reopened at New 
York in regard to the Chinese Eastern Railway, which 
the Russian Government was willing to sell if Japan 
would acrree to sell the South Manchurian hne. T'ancp 
Shao-yi, consulted by the American capitalists, said that 
China would welcome the scheme. He hoped that an inter- 
national syndicate might be organised to purchase both 
railways on behalf of the Chinese Government, thus antici- 
pating the provision for their repurchase contained in the 
Russo-Chinese Railway agreement of 1896. This was the 
germ of Mr. Knox's " neutralisation scheme." 


In June, 1909, ]Mr. Harriman, still intent on his round-the- 
world transportation idea, met Mr. Noetzlin ^ in Paris and, 
after telling him of the Chinchou-Aigun Railway scheme, 
advised the organisation of an international syndicate to buy 
up the *' Chinese Eastern " line. Mr. Noetzlin went to St. 
Petersburg to see the Minister of Finance about these 
matters, and on his return to Paris in August, informed Mr. 
Harriman that Mr. KokovtsofF was very favourably disposed. 
The Russian Finance Minister was about to make a trip to 
the Far East, and upon his return to Russia would recom- 
mend the sale of the Trans-Manchurian line. Mr. 
KokovtsofF kept his word, after the tragic meeting vnth 
Prince Ito at Harbin, and advised the sale of the railway, 
but in the meanwhile, Mr. Harriman had died, and his plans 
died vdih him. 

Assuming that Prince Ito was prepared to maintain, upon 
terms, his original approval of Mr. Harriman's schemes, and 

^ Financier and head of the International Wagons-Lits Co.'s organisation. 



noting Mr. Kokovtsoff's favourable disposition, it is within 
tiie bounds of possibility that, if the Japanese statesman had 
not met his death at Harbin, the course of history might 
have taken a turn very different to that which ensued. The 
Russian Minister of Finance, speaking at Moscow on the eve 
of his departure for Manchuria, expressed himself very 
guardedly on the subject of the Chinese Eastern Railway, 
but his remarks were construed in many quarters to fore- 
shadow important changes. A writer in the St. Petersburg 
Svyet " summarised public opinion in these words : 

There are rumours afloat that the Government intends 
to sell the Manchurian Railway. . . We do not believe the 
assurances of diplomats who say that all is well and that 
peace is assured in that region. The journey of the Minister 
of Finance, M. Kokovtsoff, to the Far East is connected with 
the fate of the Chinese Eastern Railway. They wish either 
to sell it or transfer it to China or Japan." 

On the 2nd of October the Chinese Government, strongly 
urged by the American financiers, screwed up its courage to 
the point of signing a preliminary agreement for the con- 
struction of the Chinchou-Aigun Railway. Shortly after- 
wards a secret Edict, confidentially communicated to the 
Viceroy at Moukden, confirmed the preliminary agreement, 
stipulating, however, that the line should form part of a com- 
prehensive scheme for the development of Manchuria. This 
Edict was too vague to satisfy the Viceroy (Hsi Liang), who 
thereupon memorialised the Throne, requesting definite 
ratification of the specific contract and observing that other 
schemes could be handled as opportunities arose. 


Tilings were at this stage, by no means unpromising for 
the success of the American plans, when Mr. Secretary Knox 
in November broached to the British Government his scheme 
for the neutralisation of the Manchurian Railways. The 



moment chosen, and the manner of its presentment, were 
equally unfortunate. The idea, like that of Sheng Kung- 
pao's centralisation of finance, was theoretically unassailable ; 
but its results demonstrated the fact that in diplomacy it is 
better to face hard facts than to wander on the heights of 
abstract principles. The British Government, more con- 
cerned with the hard fact of the Japanese alliance than with 
the benevolent purposes for which it was made, expressed its 
guarded aquiescence in the principles advocated by Mr. Knox, 
provided that the Powers concerned were favourably disposed. 
The case of the Fakumen Railway had clearly proved that 
Downing Street was not prepared to antagonise Japan, 
either for the extension of British interests in Manchuria or 
for the protection of China's repeatedly-guaranteed integrity. 
Mr. Knox, however, wdth naive optimism, assumed that 
the British attitude was equivalent to moral support, and 
proceeded to submit his scheme simultaneously to the British, 
French, German, Russian, Japanese and Chinese Govern- 
ments. Diplomatically speaking, his procedure in this 
matter was a serious blunder, in that he failed, in the first 
instance, to consult the Powers chiefly concerned, Russia 
and Japan. The Notes addressed to all the Powers alike 
were simply copies of the Note that had been sent to the 
British Government in November. Its text was not officially 
known in Tokyo until the first week in January, 1910. 

The purport of Mr. Knox's scheme amounted to a pro- 
posal that the Powers addressed should authorise the 
organisation of an international syndicate to buy out the 
Russian and Japanese Railway interests in Manchuria. In 
failing to consult Russia and Japan separately, the Secretary 
of State apparently assumed that the results of the negotia- 
tions which had taken place between the Governments of 
these Powers and Mr. Harriman warranted him in taking 
their consent for granted. Politically speaking, everything 
in the situation of the moment pointed to the necessity of 
securing, at least, the specific approval of the Russian 



Government on behalf of Mr. Harriman's schemes before 
launching the international scheme as a definite proposal. 
Russia thus committed — and there was every reason to 
hope for favourable results in this quarter — Japan could 
hardly decline to acquiesce. In this connection, it may be 
observed that Mr. Knox was probably ignorant of the 
nature and results of Mr. Harriman's negotiations in Paris 
in the summer of 1909. 

The scheme, as presented, was a diplomatic gaffe, and the 
blunder was aggravated by the suggestion that, if the 
Powers were unwilling to join in the general neutralisation 
scheme, they should at least unite in the financing and con- 
struction of the Chinchou-Aigun Railway. (The agreement 
for this line had not been formally ratified by the Chinese 
Government). In other words, if Russia and Japan were 
unwilling to abandon their " special interests " in this region, 
they and the other Powers were invited to create new 
interests to compete with those of the existing Railways. 

The presentment of this second proposition overlooked 
the vital fact that, by the terms of the Portsmouth Treaty, 
China w^as strictly entitled to use her own discretion in the 
development of her commerce and industry in Manchuria, 
which Russia and Japan were pledged not to obstruct. To 
place the construction of the Chinchou-Aigun line in the 
same category as the Chinese Eastern Railway and the 
South Manchurian neutralisation scheme was equivalent to 
denying the validity of the Portsmouth Treaty and to pre- 
judicing China's sovereign rights throughout Manchuria. 
It was imperative in China's interests that the two questions 
should be treated separately. Mr. Rockhill, then American 
Ambassador at St. Petersburg, thoroughly conversant with 
the facts of the situation, realised this fundamental fact and, 
in the absence of precise instructions, presented to the 
Russian Government only the neutralisation scheme. In 
Paris, Berlin, and Tokyo, liowever, both proposals were 
submitted together. The Russian Government, learning of 




the second proposition through its Ambassadors, naturally 
jumped to the conclusion that the American Government 
was playing a double game — of which INIr. Knox was consti- 
tutionally incapable. Their suspicions thus aroused, the 
neutralisation scheme was doomed, and the Russo-Japanese 
entente to divide JNIanchuria and Mongolia began from this 
moment to assume definite form and substance. Russia 
and Japan politely but firmly rejected Mr. Knox's 

The American Government's policy was, as I have said, 
irreproachable and just : but it erred in assuming, as usual, 
a restraining virtue in Treaties and Conventions. It aimed 
at placing Manchuria under an international economic 
protectorate, pending such time as China should be fit to 
walk alone : it proposed an experiment, in theory eminently 
satisfactory and practical, but which in practice necessitates 
identical aims and harmonious relations between six Powers. 
It was a policy of righteousness, tempered by enlightened 
self-interest — but it required the delicate handling of a 
Metternich to make it effective and to dominate the equally 
enlightened self-interest of other Powers. Everything 
depended on separating Russia from Japan : everything 
was done to irritate Russian sensitiveness and to lay the 
foundations of the predatory pact which has since dominated 
the Far Eastern situation. There was a strong force of 
opinion, led by Mr. Kokovtsoff at St. Petersburg, well- 
disposed towards the American proposals, and even inclined 
to consider the possibility of a Chinese alliance. Against 
them, Mr. Isvolsky at the Foreign Office was doing his best 
to bring about a Russo-Japanese entente. The foreign 
politics of Russia are always largely dependent on the personal 
equation, on individual sympathies and antipathies in high 
places, on the right word to the right man at the right time, 
on graceful amenities and social functions. Here was an 
occasion for delicate handling, not for blacksmith work. 
Mr. Knox's manner of presenting the neutralisation scheme 



played directly into Mr. Isvolsky's hands : upon it he built 
up a formidable bogey of America's anti-Russian policy in 
the Far East and used it to persuade his colleagues that the 
best protection for Russian interests lay in a rapprochement 
with Japan. Many competent observers of the steady 
development of Japan's economic and strategical position in 
JNIanchuria and Northern Korea consider that Mr. Isvolsky's 
policy must ultimately cost Russia dear ; for the moment, 
however, it was entirely successful, and Mr. KokovtsofF's 
opinions were outvoted. The immediate result of the 
American neutralisation scheme was the Russo-Japanese 
agreement of the 4th of July, 1910. (The date selected for 
its signature was no doubt regarded in Tokyo as a delicate 
compliment to Mr. Knox). The later consequences of the 
Russo-Japanese entente are discussed elsewhere, in their 
relation to the general international situation : for the 
present, we are concerned only with the evolution and 
results of American policy in China. 


Tlie Russian and Japanese Governments having turned 
down" Mr. Knox's proposals, there remained nothing for 
the Americans to do but to proceed independently in the 
matter of the Chinchou-Aigun Railway. The preliminary 
agreement for this line had been signed by the Viceroy Hsi 
Liang, as above stated, on October 2nd, 1909 ; it was 
approved by Imperial Edict on January 21st, 1910, the 
very day on which the Russian and Japanese Governments 
formally declined to entertain the neutralisation scheme. 
Following thereon, negotiations ensued, and were completed 
in April, 1910, for the final detailed agreement; but as 
Japan and Russia had, in the meanwhile, formally protested 
against the scheme at Peking (thus finally demonstrating the 
futility of the Portsmouth Treaty as a protection for China's 
sovereign rights), the Viceroy's signature of the agreement 



was suspended for the time being. He definitely confirmed 
its conditions, however, and undertook to memoriaUse for its 
ratification so soon as the step should be diplomatically 
possible. In the hope of expediting matters, Mr. Straight 
was instructed to proceed to St. Petersburg in June. It was 
then too late : the anti- American bogey had done its work. 
The policies that were to follow from the Russo-Japanese 
entente had been outlined and determined in principle, and 
the Chinchou-Aigun Railway scheme was denounced as a 
deep-laid plan for attacking Russian territories in Eastern 
Siberia and Russia's ** special interests " in Mongolia and 
iNIanchuria. The pledge given in the Portsmouth Treaty 
by Russia and Japan alike, not to exploit their existing 
Railways for strategic purposes, was deliberately repudiated, 
and an intimation was plainly conveyed to the Waiwupu 
that the joint protests against the Chinchou-Aigun scheme 
were based on considerations of political and strategical 
expediency. There were no Treaty rights to support these 
protests — those rights were all on the other side. British 
policy at this juncture might have served the purposes of 
the " open door " and international morality ; but Downing 
Street's loyalty to the Anglo-Japanese alliance, wlierein lay 
clearly the line of least resistance, took the form of a general 
acquiescence in Japan's proceedings, even though these were 
obviously detrimental to the fundamental objects for which 
the Alliance was made. As it was under Lord Lansdowne 
in 1902, so it was under Sir Edward Grey in 1910. The 
British Government did not wish to examine the provisions 
of the Anglo- Japanese agreement " too microscopically," 
preferring to believe, against a mass of evidence to the 
contrary, that its terms would be loyally and considerately 
interpreted. It is true that in the case of the Fakumen 
Railway, His Majesty's Government had gone so far as to 
address friendly representations to Tokyo, but they were 
foredoomed, by their very nature, to futility. 

China's sovereign rights and the principle of equal oppor- 

321 Y 


tunity were unmistakably threatened by the Russo-Japanese 
rapprochement, but China could find no Power to support 
her in the legitimate exercise of those rights. The Viceroy 
of INIanchuria endeavoured repeatedly to obtain assurances 
that the American Government would afford material 
assistance, if necessary, in the matter of the Chinchou- 
Aigun Railway ; given these assurances, the Chinese 
Government was prepared to proceed with its construc- 
tion. But the United States were evidently not in a 
position to support China, single-handed, to the logical 
conclusions of such an engagement. Mr. Knox's well- 
meant scheme had come up against the stone wall of hard 
facts. Benevolent theories, in Peking as in Panama, are 
powerless against the forces of geographical gravitation. 


In the meanwhile, American diplomacy had been active in 
other directions and effective in securing admission, at the 
eleventh hour, to participate in the financing and construction 
of the Yangtsze Railways. In June, 1909, after the Germans 
(with the help of Chang Chih-tung and cosmopolitan finance) 
had successfully out-manoeuvred the British and French 
I^egations and established their right of entry to a railway 
region in which, for value received, they had formerly aban- 
doned all claims, the American representative at Peking 
insisted on the recognition of America's rights in the matter 
of the Szechuan Railway. These rights were originally 
created and included, upon China's own initiative, in an 
agreement made by Sir Ernest Satow with the Chinese 
Government in October, 1903. They had long been dormant 
and possibly overlooked at Washington ; they were now to 
be forcibly revived. On the 18th of May, a despatch was 
addressed, under instructions, by the American Legation 
to Prince Ching, reminding China of her obligations in this 
matter, and protesting against the conclusion of the prelimi- 



nary loan agreement signed with the Deutsch-Asiatische 
Bank on the 8th of March, with which the British and 
French * official ' financiers had since associated themselves. 

By the terms of the agreement of October, 1903, China 
had bound herself to apply to Great Britain and the United 
States for any foreign capital she might require for the con- 
struction of a railway from Hankow to the province of 
Szechuan. The contract now signed with the Germans con- 
stituted a violation of this agreement. The Chinese 
Government were, as usual, uninformed as to their own 
obhgations and undecided as to their policy ; as usual, they 
allowed matters to drift, hoping that the foreigners would 
quarrel amongst themselves. The Anglo-French-German 
financiers were naturally reluctant to admit a fourth party to 
this important business ; but as matters had reached a dead- 
lock, they offered to share the Szechuan Railway with the 
Americans in four equal parts. This the Americans very 
naturally refused, and the question seemed likely to drag on 
indefinitely. On the 18th of July, the Russian Legation, 
holding itself no longer bound by the Scott-JMouravieff 
Convention of 1899, notified the Waiwupu of its desire to 
participate in the Hankow-Canton and Hankow-Szechuan 
Railways. Japan had already advanced similar claims by 
virtue of private arrangements made with Chang Chih-tung 
in 1905. The position was therefore complicated and, in the 
light of current events in Manchuria, instructive. 

At this point, American policy, conducted with energy 
and sound judgment by its representative at Peking,^ took 
up a line based on the strict rights of the case. On the 21st 
of July, President Taft addressed a telegram to the Regent 
direct, emphasising in plain language America's claims. 
The effect was immediate. Prince Ch'ing, President of the 
Waiwupu, then summoned a meeting of that body and 
treated the question with the seriousness it deserved ; he even 
roused himself so far as to discuss matters in person, for the 

^ Mr. H. P. Fletcher, Charge d'Aft'aires. 

323 Y 2 


first time in three years, with the British Minister. America's 
decided attitude resulted eventually in the admission of the 
American financiers to the Yangtsze Valley (or Hukuang) 
Railways on terms of equality with the British, French and 
German groups, and thus establishing the " Four Nations " 
syndicate. A definite understanding as to the details of par- 
ticipation was reached in JNlay, 1910, and the final agreement 
with the Chinese Government was signed a year later. 
Herein, at least, the prhiciple of equal opportunity had been 
successfully vindicated. 

china's manchurian development schemes. 

The Chinese, impressed with the United States' vigorous 
diplomacy, requested the American financiers to undertake 
the £10,000,000 loan, originally mooted by T'ang Shao-yi in 
1908, for purposes of Manchurian development and for 
currency reforms : in return for which they were prepared to 
appoint an American financial adviser. This occurred in 
September, 1910. In May, after the settlement of the 
Hukuang imbroglio, the British, French and German Banks 
had suggested to the American group the conclusion of a 
general working agreement. The proposal was at first 
declined; but as the effects of Mr. Knox's neutralisation 
scheme revealed themselves in an unmistakable diminution 
of American influence at Peking and Moukden, the New 
York financiers came to the politic conclusion that such an 
arrangement might be advantageous, not only in strengthen- 
ing the American position in Manchuria against Russian 
and Japanese aggressive measures, but in limiting the 
chances of financial competition. Mr. Straight, represent- 
ing the American bankers, therefore sought the consent of 
the Chinese Government to participation by the " Tripartite " 
financiers in the flotation of the loan then under discussion. 
This the Chinese agreed to, subject only to the condition 
that the agreement must be negotiated and signed by 




the American group alone. A preliminary loan contract 
was accordingly signed on the 27th of October, 1910. 
Subsequently, owhig to serious difficulties having arisen out 
of the proposed appointment of an American financial 
adviser, the " Tripartite " Banks refused to become parties 
to this loan except with equal rights of signature and 
subsequent status. The Chinese, realising that all questions 
of effective supervision would surely be dropped as the 
result of the international jealousies created by the proposed 
advisorship, allowed matters to drift for some months. At 
the end of that time, the American Bankers, weary of well- 
doing, agreed to the appointment of a neutral adviser (a 
Dutchman was nominated for the post), and the Chinese 
Government agreed to joint signature of the loan agreement 
by all the members of the " Four Nations " group, now 
definitely organised on an international basis for the 
handling of Chinese loans in general and with the special 
object of financing the Chinese Government's Manchurian 
development schemes. The final loan agreement, drawn 
under these conditions, was signed on the 15th of April, 

By Clause XVI of this agreement it was stipulated 
that, " should the Chinese Government decide to invite 
foreign capitalists to participate with Chinese interests in 
Manchurian business contemplated under this loan, or to be 
undertaken in connection therewith, the contracting Banks 
shall first be invited so to participate." 

Against the provisions of this article, Russia and Japan 
promptly protested, on the grounds that it constituted a 
monopoly of financial business. The later history of this 
question comes rather under the chapter of international 
finance than of American policy. Suffice it, for the 
moment, to say that, as the result of the diplomatic repre- 
sentation of Japan in London and of Russia in Paris, in 
connection with the large " re-organisation " loan these 
Powers were eventually able to secure their own admission 



into the financial combination, which accordingly became 
the " Six-Power " group. Neither of them had capital to 
lend, it is true ; but both had " special interests " to protect 
— interests which every day's experience was proving to be 
opposed to those of their " faithful allies " and to their own 
solemnly recorded pledges. 

It is a far cry from the foreign policy of Jefferson and 
Monroe to that of the America of the " Pacific Era." The 
appearance of the United States as a world Power on the 
crowded stage of the Far East has been characterised by 
vigorous initiative and sound political instincts, hampered 
by lack of savoir^-faire and an almost crude naivety of 
diplomatic procedure at the State Department. The 
policy which refused to shut its eyes in order not to see, 
which concentrated its energies on the vital problem of 
Manchuria, was essentially sound ; if it lacked in perspicacity, 
the error lay in exaggerating Young China's intentions and 
powers of genuine reform. In this respect, American states- 
men have erred in good company ; and they are not alone in 
facing the necessity of revising their policy upon re- 
cognition of China's inherent helplessness and political 

Between 1905 and the isislfauoc pas of the neutralisation 
scheme, the policy outlined in Mr. Harriman's railway 
schemes and supported by Yuan Shih-k'ai, was frequently 
within measurable distance of securing the co-operation of 
Russia, and with it at least a temporary solution of the 
Manchurian problem. Had Prince Ito not been assassinated, 
had Mr. Harriman lived to complete his successful negotia- 
tions with St. Petersburg, had the Empress Dowager not 
died at a critical moment, T'ang Shao-yi's mission might 
well have produced results that would have maintained 
China's sovereignty under conditions favourable to the 
economic development of Manchuria and the " open door." 
The stars in their courses fought against China during those 
short years of grace, and to-day the chaos of the Revolution 



has served to hasten the inevitable denouement of her 
dismemberment in the North. To America, nevertheless, 
must be given credit for appreciating the essential facts of 
the situation, and for courage to face them. Washington 
realised that, for all purposes of protecting the interests of 
the commercial Powers, the Anglo- Japanese alliance became 
a negligible quantity upon the signing of the Peking agree- 
ment between China and Japan in December, 1905. 
Thereafter, as the incurable nature of China's weakness 
became evident, practical politics centred naturally in the 
danger-point of Japan's Manchurian policy, just as they 
centred in the Russian forward movement at the time when 
the Anglo-Japanese alliance was hastily concluded. 


Confronted to-day by the solid and unsurmountable fact of 
the Russo-Japanese entente and the definite assertion by 
these Powers of special interests " which amount to a 
thinly- veiled assumption of sovereign rights in Manchuria, 
Mongolia, and " Western China " ; confronted, too, by the 
turmoil of the Revolution and portents of increasing unrest 
in the Central and Southern provinces, American policy, like 
that of other interested nations, has fallen back, perforce, 
on the platitudinous utterances of conventional diplomacy. 
The following Note, handed by Mr. Knox to the German 
Ambassador at Washington on the 3rd of February 
last, fairly summarises the recent attitude of the State 
Department : 

Your Excellency, 

In reply to your Note of the 31st ultimo requesting 
information as to the attitude of the Government of the 
United States with regard to conditions in China, I have 
the honour to state that since the beginning of the present 
disturbances this Government has from time to time, as 
occasion arose, exchanged views with the other interested 



Powers, particularly France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan 
and Russia, as well as the Imperial German Government — 
as to what course was expedient for the protection of the 
common interests. From these exchanges it has been quite 
clear that all the Powers concerned were at one as to the 
wisdom of maintaining the policy of concerted action in the 

This unanimity of view found concrete expression in the 
identic Note presented by the representatives of France, 
Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Russia and the United 
States simultaneously to the peace commissioners at 
Shanghai on December 20, as well as in the co-operative 
measures taken for the protection of their common interests 
throughout China. 

The advices received by this Government, moreover, show 
that the other governments concerned have likewise had 
similar exchanges of view and that official statements of 
policy to the same effect have appeared in the public press 
of various countries. 

It is, therefore, evident to this Government that all the 
Powers have up to the present, by common consent, not 
only refrained from independent action and from inter- 
vening in China's internal affairs, but have acted in full 
accord with their mutual assurances that they would 
respect its integrity and sovereignty. There happily has 
thus far been no reason for interference on the part of the 
Foreign Powers, inasmuch as both Imperialists and Re- 
publicans have guaranteed the life and property of the 
foreign population, and the latest reports tend to strengthen 
the belief that it is improbable that future developments 
will necessitate such interference. If, however, contrary to 
all expectations, any further steps should prove necessary, 
this Government is firm in the conviction that the policy of 
concerted action after full consultation by the powers 
should and would be maintained in order to exclude 
from the beginning all possible misunderstandings. 

Moreover, this Government has felt it to be a corollary 
of the policy of strict neutrality hitherto pursued by 
common accord with respect to loans to China, to look with 
disfavour upon loans by its nationals unless assured that 



such loans would be of neutral effect as between the con- 
tending factions, as it has also felt that the present was an 
occasion where there might be invoked with peculiar 
appropriateness the principle of the lending governments 
deterring their nationals from making loans not approved 
as to their broad policy by their own governments in 
consultation with other interested Powers. 

Accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my 
highest consideration. 

(Signed) P. C. Knox. 

His Excellency Count J. H. von BernstorfF, 
Imperial German Ambassabor. 

Summarising the situation undiplomatically, the results of 
America's policy in China since 1905 justify certain fairly 
definite conclusions. Imprimis, the frank declarations of 
American statesmen in regard to the inevitability of American 
ascendancy in the Pacific ; the strategical importance of the 
Panama Canal in the fulfilment of that aim, and the latest 
extension of the Monroe doctrine, taken in connection with 
the activity of American political finance in Manchuria, have 
inspired the belief in Russia and Japan that the policy of the 
United States Government is directly opposed to their 
''special interests" in the regions beyond the Great Wall. 
From the point of view now adopted at Tokyo and St. 
Petersburg, the scheme to neutralise the Manchurian 
railroads was evolved for the express purpose of circumscrib- 
ing those " special interests. " The fact that both Powers 
have solemnly pledged themselves not to interfere with 
China's independent exercise of her right to develop 
Manchuria no longer counts for anything ; America's insis- 
tence thereon amounts, in the eyes of the Tokyo and St. 
Petersburg Press, to gratuitous interference. It is undeni- 
able that, at certain stages of the game, the State Depart- 
ment's proceedings have played into the hands of Japan by 
enabling Mr. Isvolsky to point to cumulative evidence of an 
anti-Russian policy at W ashington. The notable indiscre- 



tions of IMr. Crane certainly reflected blundering at head- 
quarters : ]\Ir. Shuster's tilting at the windmills of political 
unrighteousness in Persia pointed to an unpleasant desire to 
construe Russian assurances au jjied de la lettre ; the Cloud 
incident in INIanchuria and the speeches of Mr. SchifF, all 
tended, in turn, to strengthen the impression, carefully 
fostered by Japanese diplomacy and Press work. And at 
the very last, when American financiers were convinced of 
the importance of winning Russian goodwill, when, by 
securing it, the situation might have been saved, Washington's 
chivalrous but futile efforts to protect the interests of Jews 
in Russia served definitely to alienate the sympathies of 
many Russians who had hitherto been well disposed. For 
the moment, therefore, American policy is at a discount in 
St. Petersburg. 

The intention of Japan's elder statesmen are not to be 
gauged from the systematic work of her Press Bureaus nor 
from the calculated utterances of her diplomats, but the fact 
is patent that, as Baron Kaneko expressed it,^ " Japan will 
do her utmost in disputing this command of the Pacific with 
the United States, and also do her best to control the Far 
Eastern markets." Surface amenities, moreover, cannot 
conceal the truth that the Japanese nation as a whole 
deeply resents the fact that, while attempting to block the 
way to Japan's expansion in Manchuria and Mongolia, the 
United States has barred Japanese immigration to North 
America, and is apparently desirous of excluding it from the 
South. The Californian-schools incident rankles sorely. 
Having, by force of achievement, won her way to the front 
rank of the world's Great Powers, Japan refuses to accept 
policies which brand her children as Asiatics, inferior to 
Armenians, Turks and Polish Jews. Thus construing Pan- 
Americanism and the first fruits of the Pacific Era, it is 
surely not surprising that a certain number of Japanese 
statesmen and publicists have begun to advocate a " Monroe 

1 Article in The Pacijic Era (first number), October, 1907. 



doctrine for Asia." Others, again, and these are the more 
numerous, resent the educational and moral activities of 
America in China. By virtue of geographical propinquity, 
by a common literature and close commercial relations, Japan 
claims (not unnaturally) to be the friend, philosopher, and 
guide of China in process of regeneration. America, late- 
comer on the scene of Far Eastern politics, is endeavouring 
to oust her from this position. The " Asahi Shimbun " of 
Osaka, in May last, thus summarised (and stimulated) 
Japanese apprehensions on this subject: 

** The United States, having no territorial concessions and 
no geographical facilities, has assumed the political and 
financial guidance of China. She has offered to furnish 
the capital for the exploitation of Liaotung — in return for 
rights. She has organised a loan syndicate of English, 
German, French, and American bankers, and assumed 
$50,000,000 of the total amount. By bold and skilful 
diplomacy she has out-manoeuvred Japan, Russia, and 
England, whose rights and interests are predominant, and 
forced them to take a back seat. In the Revolution, when 
the Japanese and English diplomatists were so circumspect 
as to incur the annoyance of the Chinese, the United States, 
by clever diplomacy, kept on the best of terms with the 
North and the South. When the Emperor abdicated, the 
United States was sympathetic. Then when the Republic 
was declared, it was America who came forward with the 
proposal that the Powers should help the new Republic to 
the restoration of order in China. America, to our astonish- 
ment, has succeeded in convincing China that it is she who 
is labouring to help her in her distress. 

Mr. Calhoun, the American Minister, is a lawyer, and has 
no other record behind him. He is rapidly making one as a 
diplomatist. The United States has vastly improved her 
position in China, and under the Republic will succeed even 
more, and it is probable that she will become China's guide. 
The new Cabinet is pro- American. Yuan once tried to 
form an American Alliance, and it was to Tang he entrusted 
the work. The Ministers of State are equally pro- American. 



Hsiung Hsi-ling, the IVIinister of Finance, encouraged 
American financiers to provide the funds for the develop- 
ment of JManchuria, so as to checkmate the aggression of 
Russia and Japan. He will turn to America again now. 
The new officials are mostly of 7\.merican education. The 
forceful American representative, Mr. Calhoun, is strongly- 
backed by the American pressmen in Peking. The 
American missionary is ever conveniently near, urging 
the Chinese on. The word Republic is a charm at the 
present moment, and its constant use makes the Chinese 
believe that the Americans are their only true friends. 
They forget how their countrymen are despised, insulted, 
humiliated, and persecuted in America. They humbly 
follow their guides. Japan is only separated from China by 
a narrow strip of water. Our interests are predominant 
there. AVhy don't the Japanese people do something to 
arouse the officials from their slumber to a realisation of the 
position ? " 

Taking a broad view of the future of world politics in the 
Far East, it would seem that America may yet have cause 
to recognise that the movement of Japanese expansion 
in JManchuria and Mongolia is preferable to its activities in 
Chile, Peru, and Brazil. This emigration movement is in 
itself as inevitable, as an imperative necessity of vigorous 
nationalism, as the expansionist tendencies of the United 
States. For Canada and for Australia, as well as for 
America, the economic pressure of Japan ^ involves problems 
of far-reaching importance, seriously affecting Imperial 
policies and the balance of power. A highly-organised 
military nation, collectively amongst the most efficient on 
earth, demands more elbow room and new markets ; thus 
considered, the present course of Japanese policy clearly 
reflects the elementary truths of biological science. The 
.Japanese are not a passive type of race, prepared to solve 
tlie problem of food-supply by fatalist acceptance of famines, 
infanticide and scourges of disease : they prefer, and are able, 

^ The annual surplus of births over deaths in Japan is about 725,000. 



to expand at the expense of their weaker neighbours. If 
once we admit the inherent pohtical and miUtary inefficiency 
of China, the fate of Manchuria and JNIongoha is sealed : these 
fertile and thinly populated lands lie open to invasion by the 
surplus population of Japan. From the American point of 
view the potential trade of China is undoubtedly worth 
defending by every possible device of diplomacy ; but the 
crux of the situation lies in the fact that Russia and Japan 
are both well aware that it is not worth the sacrifices of a 
war. Japan has displayed conciliatory wisdom and good- 
will towards America and Canada by restricting the number 
of her emigrants to those countries ; but she will not 
— indeed she cannot — consent to be excluded from those 
regions to gain which {pace her own statements to the 
contrary) she resisted Russia's advance. If China's " rights 
recovery " programme is, as we believe, a vain dream, then 
treaties and conventions notwithstanding, Japan will extend 
her Empire westwards on the Asiatic continent at China's 
expense. As it w^as with Korea, so it must be with any 
desirable territories to the north and west of the Great 
Wall, which China cannot defend by force of arms. These 
facts once recognised, and the advantages admitted of 
diverting Japanese expansion westwards, all the assurances 
and shibboleths now current in regard to the maintenance of 
China's integrity will be decently and quietly folded away, 
as they were in Korea — exchanged for practical bargainings 
as to the maintenance of existing tariffs, and a door left 
temporarily open to international trade. For, with America 
as with Japan and every other Power of the modern world, 
the gospel of necessity is greater, in the end, than any 
international obligations. 




Careful examination of all the available facts of the 
situation, as it existed prior to Prince Ito's fateful mission to 
Harbin, would appear to justify the belief that at that date, 
had American political finance been able to enlist the definite 
support of M. KokovtsofF's party (then favourably disposed), 
Japan might have been obliged to recognise the necessity 
for conforming to the main principles laid down in the 
Portsmouth Treaty. Prior to the announcement of the ill- 
fated " neutralisation scheme " launched by Mr. Secretary 
Knox, there undoubtedly existed at St. Petersburg a power- 
ful body of opinion, originally led by M. Stolypin, which 
believed in the reality of China's military re-organisation and 
of the Yellow Peril, so much so, that the question of a 
Russo- Chinese alliance was seriously mooted in high places. 
Mr. Knox's policy, intended to protect the integrity of 
China's territories, brought Russia and Japan together in a 
common cause as nothing else could have done, and 
definitely inaugurated the era of partition. 

As matters stand to-day, since Prince Katsura's mission to 
St. Petersburg, Russia appears to be definitely committed to 
a further period of military and political adventures in the 
Far East. The prudent scruples which M. SazonofF ex- 
pressed to the Duma last April, in regard to the recrudes- 
cence of the " forward " policy in Mongolia, have yielded to 
the restless ambitions of bureaucrats on the one hand and to 



pressure of the nationalist party on the other. It is interest- 
ing to-day to recall the Foreign Minister's utterances on that 
occasion : 

"We should not forget, gentlemen, that Russia is a 
European Power ; that our State fabric was put together, 
not on the banks of the Black Irtysh, but on those of the 
Dnieper and the Moskva. The expansion of Russia's 
possessions in Asia cannot constitute the aim of our policy, 
for that would lead to an undesirable shifting of the centre 
of gravity in the Empire, and consequently to the weakening 
of our position in Europe and the Near East. Therefore, 
no acquisition of ours in Asia could be justified on any 
ground other than the genuine value of the territory and 
our absolute need of it. It is not permissible to annex 
conterminous lands solely because the State can do it with- 
out great risks to itself." 

Herein may be traced, no doubt, lingering echoes of that 
wave of acute pessimism, that fierce paroxysm of disillusion 
which in 1906-7 permeated Russian public opinion and 
made fearful nightmares of all the glorious dreams of a Far 
Eastern Empire. The nervous prostration which followed 
the war, and the internal disorders of the country, had 
imbued not only the military element, but politicians and 
publicists, with a violent distaste for further adventures. For 
the time being, Russia's predestined role as arbiter of 
Eastern Asia was as if it had never been. This violent 
reaction may be ascribed partly to the structural character of 
the Slav race, with whom the pendulum swings rapidly 
between enthusiasm and depression, but even more to the 
fact that the movement eastwards had always been a move- 
ment of romantic adventure rather than of national 
necessity ; there was no inexorable pressure behind it, no 
soul of a people, as there is in the case of Japan's expansion ; 
and the collapse of the nation's self-confidence and the 
retrograde movement that followed 1905 assumed for a time 
all the appearance of a panic. The vivid imagination of 



Russian writers, and especially those of the Siberian and 
Mancharian Press, saw on all sides proofs of the Yellow 
Peril, imminent and increasing. It was no longer a question 
of encroachment upon Chinese territory : the defence of 
Eastern Siberia itself seemed a forlorn hope. The notes of 
warning that sounded continually from the East all foretold 
an offensive alliance between China and Japan ; Young 
China's militant attitude, its programmes of administrative 
and economic reform, seriously accepted as practical politics, 
inspired a timid and conciliatory attitude which was unmis- 
takably reflected in the proceedings of the Russian 
authorities in JNlanchuria and of the Legation at Peking. 
The spirit which animated the Russian side of the negotia- 
tions for the agreement concluded with China on the 10th of 
JNlay, 1909, was indeed so conciliatory that the Chinese at 
first suspected therein some deep-laid and sinister designs. 
The high-handed methods of the autocratic Russian Rail- 
way Company were replaced by a sweet reasonableness 
which the Peking Government were quite unable to under- 
stand, but of which they soon proceeded to take every 
advantage. No sooner had they realised that Russia was 
prepared to allow the exercise of their sovereign rights in the 
JNIanchurian Railway settlements, than they proceeded to 
encourage American and German ambitions, sedulously 
fomenting differences at Harbin, Khailar, and other places, 
by which means they hoped to obtain full administrative 
control of the municipalities. At this period there existed an 
influential party at St. Petersburg which would have been 
only too glad to sell the JNIanchurian Railways to America. 
Even in 1909, when public opinion, after its first panic, had 
looked back and seen no signs of the Yellow Peril pursuing, 
the general staff of the INIinistry of War opposed the 
Chinese Government's Tsitsihar-Aigun Railway scheme, on 
the ground that it would expose Russia's position and the 
Siberian Railway to attacks by the Chinese. In Mongolia, 
particularly, the rising tide of Chinese settlers — a purely 



economic phenomenon — was fantastically construed by many 
as a formidable armed host menacing the flanks of Trans- 

REVIVAL OF Russia's expansionist policy 

But the pendulum had begun to swing once more in the 
direction of " Russia's imperative destinies " ; once more 
the journalists of St. Petersburg began to write of the 
" national goal " in the Far East and Russia's predestined 
path to the open waters of the Pacific. To a certain extent 
the change reflected the reaction which had taken place 
amongst the Russian communities east of Irkutsk and 
the passing of the nervous condition induced by the 
Japanese war. It certainly reflected an unmistakable 
modification of public opinion as regards the imminence 
of any Yellow Peril on the Chinese frontiers. At the 
beginning of 1909, while General Horvat and M. 
Korostovetz at Peking' were negotiating in a spirit of 
conciliation the new Manchurian Agreement, the Russian 
community at Harbin addressed a petition to the Govern- 
ment at St. Petersburg in which no trace of nervousness 
was to be found ; on the contrary, it showed signs of 
intelligent appreciation of the defenceless condition of 
China and the opportunities thereby created. The 
petitioners were much disturbed at the Russian Govern- 
ment's policy of graceful concessions ; China's resources of 
self-defence, they said, were few and diminishing ; 
Manchuria, as a part of the Chinese Empire, was doomed. 
This interesting document concluded by frankly advocating 
a policy of joint action with Japan for a division of the 
spoils. " It will be far more profitable," said the Russian 
colony of Manchuria, " for Russia to join forces with 
Japan against China, than to support China against Japan. 
The only factor which determines the course of inter- 
national politics is the factor of material force. At the 

337 z 


present moment, force is all on the side of Japan, and it 
will therefore be a serious mistake if, instead of casting 
in our lot with the strong, we strive to make friends with 
the weak. As it is, the Chinese despise us for the feeble- 
ness implied by our vacillating and conciliatory policy." 

It is not to be denied that, ever since the splendid 
adventures of KhabarofF on the Amur in the seventeenth 
century, and the exploits of Muravieff Amursky in the 
nineteenth, the dream of a Far Eastern Empire has 
permanently possessed the imagination of the Russian 
bureaucracy and of many Slav " Intellectuals." But the 
foreign policy and the economic system by which it has 
been sought to carry this dream to fulfilment have always 
been largely based on personal equations and sudden impulses 
rather than on any deliberate national movement. There 
is, indeed, in Russia's foreign policy a Peter Pan quality of 
mercurial audacity, a keen zest for magnificent and unpro- 
visioned excursions into the furthest Never-never Lands, a 
splendid contempt for logic and the results of experience, 
together with a Nelsonic eye for the dim outline of Nemesis 
in the distance. It is a policy which has ever been liable 
to sudden enthusiasms and equally sudden reactions of dis- 
couragement, frequently representing, even to the furthest 
frontiers of the Empire, nothing more than the whim of a 
Court favourite, the greed of a BezobrazofF or the fatuous 
complacency of an AlexiefF. Spasmodic, sentimental and 
unstable — yet reflecting also the indomitable courage and 
splendid virility of the Slav race. 

After the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese Agreement of 
the 4th of July, 1910, which was (as I have shown) the 
immediate result of the American State Department's well- 
meant efforts to secure fulfilment of the Portsmouth Treaty, 
the idea of a business-like arrangement with Japan, as a 
foundation for a new Far Eastern policy, found favour with 
tliose who had previously scouted the possibly of such a 
rdpprodiemeiit. It is not possible to say exactly at what date 



the Tzar's Council of Ministers was led to take heart of grace 
and definitely to embark upon its new policy of expansion, 
but internal evidence points to the spring of 1910. In the 
Convention of the 4th of July the resonant platitudes of the 
Agreement of 1907 were replaced by an unmistakably signifi- 
cant reference to the maintenance of the status quo in 
JManchuria, and its defence against all aggressors. The status 
quo referred to by the contracting parties, and evidently 
threatened by Mr. Knoxs "neutralisation scheme," con- 
stituted, in fact, a violation of the terms of the Anglo- Japanese 
Alliance, since it clearly involved a denial of China's sovereign 
rights as regards the development of the Eastern provinces. 
But the virtue of the alliance in Japanese eyes had begun 
rapidly to diminish, and the movement was accelerated 
when it became known that England proposed to exclude 
from its scope the possibility of hostilities between Great 
Britain and the United States. The fact that Mr. Knox 
rushed in where British diplomatists had feared to tread 
merely precipitated an arrangement, so obviously profitable 
to Russia and Japan, that it could not have been long delayed. 
Whilst the eagles fought for their prey, the carcase remained 
undevoured : Japan's right to a share having been proved by 
the arbitrament of war, it was clearly to her interest to make 
terms for an amicable division of the spoils before the 
capitalists of the Western world could establish those 
vested interests which China was inviting them to create. 


The Agreement of July, 1910, having been concluded, the 
new confederates lost no time in profiting by their pact. Six 
weeks after its signature, Japan proceeded to complete her 
formal " amalgamation " of Korea. It was simultaneously 
announced by the Temps, on information which had no 
doubt leaked from the Quai d'Orsai, that in one of those 

339 z 2 


" supplementary clauses " which often contain the vital matter 
of her Treaties, Japan had guaranteed to Russia a free hand 
in INI ongolia in compensation for this annexation of Korea. 
Tlie existence of such a secret agreement was never admitted, 
but the rumour received confirmation by Russia's immediate 
proceedings in JNIongolia. A special commission was des- 
patched " to inquire into the conditions of Russian trade in 
that region." The results of this investigation were prompt 
and unmistakable. On the 16th of February, 1911, the 
Russian Minister at Peking handed to the Chinese Govern- 
ment a Note, raising six points concerning trade in Mongolia 
and the New Dominion. On the 14th of March a more 
peremptory Note followed, and on the 24th an ultimatum, 
calling upon China to yield the terms demanded by Russia 
within three days. It was significant of the false ideas then 
widely prevalent concerning China's military preparations, 
that on the publication of this news, heavy war insurances 
were effected at Lloyd's. As The Times correspondent at 
Peking justly observed : 

*' There was no reason to anticipate anything but an 
amicable settlement of the dispute, for the Chinese were 
aware of their relative helplessness and aware that Kuldja, 
the New Dominion, and Mongolia all lie at the mercy of 
their powerful neighbours." " The Chinese Government," 
he added, "was unable to understand the reason for 
the Russian Press campaign of intimidation, nor could 
foreigners at Peking reconcile the hostile communiques 
issuing from St. Petersburg with the pacific assurances 
given in Peking." 

On the 27th of March, China having conceded all Russia's 
demands in a comprehensive and apologetic reply, the 
partners to the new entente were able to resume their 
business of " consolidating peace in the Far East," although 
it was feared at Peking that " Russia was bent on punishing 
China, whether the pretext was adequate or not." A 


Rough Sketch Map showing Frontiers of Mongolia and the New Dominion (Sinkiang). 


month later, the nature of the status quo was more precisely 
indicated, and coming events foreshadowed, by a Russian 
and Japanese joint-protest against China's conclusion of the 
Manchurian Development and Currency loan with the 
" Four Nations " syndicate of Banks. On June the 11th, 
in the House of Commons, Sir Edward Grey made the 
significant announcement that His Majesty's Government 
recognised " that Russia and Japan had special interests 
in Mongolia and Manchuria," he being at the time aware of 
the attitude adopted, and the demands put forward in 
identical terms, by the Russian and Japanese Governments' 
financial delegates at conferences held on the 15th of May 
in London and the 7th and 8th of June in Paris. The 
preliminaries to the partition of Chinese territory in 
these regions had now advanced so far that Japan's 
" rights and special interests " were declared to lie *' in the 
regions of South Manchuria and of the Eastern portion 
of Inner Mongolia adjacent to South Manchuria," while 
those of Russia lay in the regions of Northern Manchuria, 
Mongolia and Western China." The British Govern- 
ment's perception of the unpleasant necessities of the 
situation had previously been indicated by an intimation 
to China that she would be well advised to ascertain 
the views of the Russian and Japanese Governments before 
finally concluding the Chinchou-Aigun Railway Agree- 
ment. Only the United States, as we have seen, continued 
to hope for some protective value in the Powers' " mutual 
assurances to respect the integrity and sovereignty of China." 
The interests of the United States and Germany were 
clearly identified at more than one stage of the Manchurian 
loan negotiations ; nevertheless, had not Count Biilow 
placed it on record in March, 1901, that, for the purposes of 
the Anglo-German Agreement of the 16th of October, 1900, 
the geographical term China " could not be held to cover 
Manchuria ? And has it not been authoritatively stated by 
the Russian Press that M. SazonofF's present policy has 


been fully discussed with M. Poincare and meets with the 
concurrence of the French Government? From the same 
source comes the information that, at the Port Baltic 
interview in July between the Emperors of Russia and 
Germany, the entente with Japan was amicably discussed 
and approved. And may we not therefore conclude that 
the Portsmouth Treaty and the Anglo- Japanese Alliance, 
the Franco- Japanese Convention of 1907, and all the other 
instruments which guarantee China from aggression and 
partition, must now receive a new interpretation, based 
on the logic of events ? Prince Katsura's visit to St. 
Petersburg, says Renter (July 18th) in an ''authoritative" 
statement from Tokyo, was " not connected with any specific 
political development," but it is admitted that " very im- 
portant connminiques have passed between the Russian and 
Japanese Governments, supplementary to the Agreements 
of 1907 and 1910. These communiques, necessitated by 
the Revolution in China and the subsequent loan negotiations, 
have resulted in a very clear understanding between the 
two Powers on the Chinese question, and have created an 
entente of the greatest importance for the preservation of 
Peace in the Far East, second only in importance to the 
^Vnglo- Japanese Alliance." Surely the most hypocritical 
feature of modern diplomacy consists in these solemn 
invocations of Peace to assist at and justify the spoliation 
of the weak by the strong, and in the unctuous rectitude of 
the spectators. 

Considering, for the present, only Russia's side of the 
entente, we find the objective of her new policy thus frankly 
stated by the Novoe Vremya (April, 1912) : — 

" Our time-honoured policy," (writes M. MenshikofF) 
"from the days of the Variags down to the reign of the 
Emperor Alexander III, was founded on the axiom that 
Russia needs territorial expansion at the expense of her 


Pliotos, Le Mnnyon, Peking, 

Ruins after the Looitxg, February 29TH, 1912. 



And, in another place, 

" Russia, in spite of her thousand years of existence, is still 
on the road towards her natural geographical and political 

The winter garments of repentance have been flung into 
the fires of a new spring of Imperial adventure ; once more 
the Slav hears the compelling call of the East, 

" Not in Europe," says another leader in M. Suvorin's 
influential journal, " but in the Far East are those consider- 
able territorial changes possible, and indeed imperative, upon 
which depends the future of our Empire .... Chinese 
anarchy on the one hand and Russian Imperial problems on 
the other — this opposition leads us to the inevitable conclusion 
that it would be criminal to let slip so favourable an opportu- 
nity and to fail to profit by the weakness of our neighbour 
in order to realise our Imperial ideals." 


Nothing could be more significant of the decline of inter- 
national honesty in modern politics, and the ultimate futility 
of Peace Conferences and Arbitration Tribunals, than the 
manner in which Prince Katsura's mission to St. Petersburg 
(July, 1912) was discussed by a very considerable section of 
the European Press. Equally remarkable was the reticence 
observed on the subject by the foremost statesmen of the 
great Powers. Frankly to admit that political expediency 
and economic pressure make this policy of spoliation inevit- 
able would be inconsistent with the traditions of a statecraft 
which insists on the worship of the shadow when the substance 
has departed. In June, the " Osaka Mainichi " announced, 
" on the authority of a personage in the confidence of Prince 
Katsura," that the object of his mission (the mission un- 
connected with any specific political development ") was 

" to unite Japan, Great Britain and Russia in one agree- 
ment with regard to their Far Eastern policy. Japan and 



England being already combined for that purpose, it remained 
to bring Russia within the same orbit and thus to create a 
great poUtical confederation which would exert a controlling 
influence over the destinies of Eastern Asia." 

The following, taken from a leader in the Pall Mall 
Gazette, may be described as fairly representative of British 
public opinion, making a virtue of necessities, and by no 
means deeply concerned : — 

" There is nothing in the scheme," it observed, " which 
can be called antagonistic to the alliance already existing 

between this country and the Island Empire it is an 

excellent illustration alike of the breadth of view and the 
capacity for looking ahead which characterise Japanese 

statesmanship at its best The day may come when 

the principle which the Anglo- Japanese Alliance was framed 
to uphold — namely, the maintenance of the territorial in- 
tegrity of China — will have to be abandoned. Indeed, not 
the least of the contributors to this unhappy result may be 
the Chinese themselves. Even as matters now stand, 
neither Russia's recent action in Mongolia, nor British action 
in Tibet, nor Japan's special position in Manchuria, can be 
regarded as fully consonant with the upholding of that 

Yet China w^as one of the Powers represented at the 
International Peace Conference at the Hague ! 

Even more instructive is an account of the " conversa- 
tions " between Prince Katsura and M. Kokovtsoff given by 
a Special Correspondent of the Daily Telegraph. He 
begins by paying tribute to the statecraft of M. Isvolsky, 
" which reversed the policy, favoured by the majority of 
influential Russians, of making common cause with China, 
and insisted on coming to an agreement with Japan. That 
agreement is now seen to be all-suflicient for every practical 
purpose, and obviates the need of a formal alliance." 

From this Special Correspondent's account of an inter- 
view between Prince Katsura and Baron Goto on the one 



side, and M. Kokovtsoff and M. SazonofF on the other, I 
quote the following passages, merely observing that it would 
be difficult to find the purposes of international bad faith 
more cynically served, the vital truths of a case more 
callously ignored. 

Prince Katsura told M. Kokovtsoff that in his opinion 
Russia and Japan have everything to lose by neglecting to 
understand one another and everything to gain by cultivat- 
ing intimacy based on thorough knowledge of each other's 
political and commercial plans and strivings. * Had we 
done this in time.' he added, 'history would have had no 
sanguinary Manchurian campaign to record.' 

" The outlook of the Chinese Republic and the relations 
between the Central Government of Peking and the border 
provinces of Manchuria, Outer Mongolia and Tibet were 
next canvassed .... without revealing the slightest diver- 
gency of opinion between the Japanese and Russian 
statesmen. On the matter of lending money to China, 
so long as she remains in her present pitiable plight, the 
unanimity was absolute. It was laid down as desirable 
that no loan should be floated and no advances made 
without providing for adequate control,^ which should 
answer for it that the proceeds are not applied to under- 
takings calculated to impair the interests of either of China's 
powerful neighbours. That means, of course, among other 
things, that Chma shall not be 'permitted to create a 
formidable army if she recover her balance sufficiently to 
turn her attention to the national defences. 

**The Japanese statesmen emphatically declare that so 
long as the two Empires remain of one mind, they hold in 
their own hands the key to the Far Eastern problem, the 
changnig aspects of which they could and should regulate 
congruously with their common interests, which happily 

^ It will be observed that^ in insisting on "adequate control" of loan 
expenditure, the Japanese statesman uses the same words as the British 
Government — but whereas the object of the British Government is to 
control the expenditure of loan funds for China's interest and for economic 
purposes, the Russo-Japanese aim is to control it against China's interest 
and for political purposes. 



coincide with the general interests of the world. That is 
the pivot of the matter. 

The results of these conversations are considered super- 
latively satisfactory by both sides. The Russian Ministers 
characterised their Japanese colleagues as masterful states- 
men of power, sincerity and vision, who are endowed in 
fulness with the statesman's first quality of seeing the 
whole of a question and not merely a part. They have 
completely attained the object of their visit. The destinies 
of the Far East will now be taken in hand by the Govern- 
ments of Japan and Russia, not indeed for the purj^ose of 
narrow, egotistic aims, but with a firm resolve to discharge 
what they regard as their cultural mission in that part of 
the globe, unhindered by the impulses of amateur outsiders, 
whose excellent intentions outrun their sense of political 

Exeunt, in fact, the original purposes of the Anglo- 
Japanese Alliance. 

The substitution of a cultural mission " for the cause of 
Peace is as significant in its way as the reference to Mr. 
Knox as an " amateur outsider." But in view of the 
indifference of public opinion in England to these proceed- 
ings (with the iniquity of which England remains morally 
identified by the terms of the Anglo- Japanese alliance), it is 
difficult to criticise severely the attitude adopted by certain 
journalists, and especially by those who, in foreign capitals, 
necessarily echo the policy of the Embassy or Legation. 
Still, il y a des convenances. To talk sympathetically of 
China's " pitiable plight " and then to record with com - 
placency the measures taken to ensure its aggravation " in 
the general interests of the world " is surely indecent. It 
may be that this cold-blooded and deliberate pact to 
dismember China at the moment of her latest misfortunes 
must be accepted as an inevitable consequence of China's 
inefficiency and her "powerful neighbours'" earth-hunger; 
but, if so, it is surely superfluous to proclaim the virtues of 
the despoilers. A non-committal reticence, such as that 



adopted by Sir Edward Grey, is surely the only dignified 
course to adopt. 



It is not possible, within the limits of this work, fully to 
explain the origins of the " rights and special interests " 
which Russia is now preparing to assert in " Northern 
Manchuria and Western China." As regards " Western 
China," the limitations of the term require to be strictly 
defined before the political consequences of Russia's present 
policy can be gauged, but it is noteworthy that the semi- 
official press of St. Petersburg takes it to mean the North 
Western territory of the New Dominion (Sin Chiang), 
extending to the borders of Kashgaria. The vagueness of 
the term is obviously intentional, and since it may possibly 
be extended hereafter, in pursuit of a " cultural mission," to 
include those semi-independent regions of Kansuh which 
border on North-Eastern Tibet, the matter is one which may 
come to concern closely the British Empire. All the vast, 
thinly-populated regions of AVestern Szechuan and Yunnan, 
all that No-Man's Land, peopled by independent non- 
Chinese tribes, which lies between Upper Burmah, Assam, 
Western China and Tibet, will assuredly create new 
problems in the near future, involving re-arrangement of 
frontiers. When, on the 26th of April last, JNI. Sazonoff 
discussed in the Duma the Russian Government's policy 
in the Far East, there was no word of " Western China " m 
his survey of the regions in which Russian interests were 
affected ; but since then the march of events has been 
rapid. His remarks on that occasion are still worthy of 

" Northern Mongolia, or Khalkha, has seceded from 
China, and entreated her Slav neighbour to espouse her 
cause. Some Russians have clamoured for the promulga- 



tion of a Protectorate, others have anathematised all forms 
of activity, whether intervention or mediation ; but the 
Government has chosen the happy medium between these 
extremes. Mongolia is the common name for several 
provinces which have little in common. Inner Mongolia 
gravitates towards the South Manchurian Railway zone, 
Eastern Mongolia belongs to Manchuria; Northern Mon- 
golia, which is sundered from China by the Gobi Desert, 
conserves a physiognomy of its own. The inhabitants of 
this province are nomads governed by princes. The 
Chinese element is insignificant. 

" The secession was brought about by China persistently 
ignoring the institutions, customs, and needs of the 
population, and attempting to quarter troops among them, 
to give them a Chinese Administration and to colonise the 
country. The Pontiff, or Kutukhtu, headed a successful 
Separatist movement. But Mongolia is unprepared for 
independence, lacking as she does leaders, money, and an 
army. Her separation from China would therefore compel 
Russia to occupy the country, or else permit the Chinese to 
re-enter it as conquerors. Anxious to escape from this 
embarrassing dilemma, the Russian Government agreed to 
mediate between China and Mongolia on three conditions : 
China must undertake to cease colonising the country, 
stationing troops there, and sending Chinese administrators 

" I myself fail to perceive grounds forcible enough to 
compel us to admit that the annexation of Northern 
Mongolia would be beneficial to us. Our interests require 
only that in conterminous Mongolia there should be no 
strong military State. Thanks to the neighbourhood of the 
Mongolians, our Siberian frontier is better protected than if 
we built fortresses along it, and stationed formidable 
garrisons there." 

The reasons which led the tribal princes of Northern 
Mongolia, in the summer of 1911, to seek the protection of 
Russia against Chinese immigration were not in themselves 
convincing, and there is evidence to show that their action 
was greatly influenced by the advice of Russian traders in 



Kiakhta and Urga. A Russo- Mongolian trader, writing in 
the Priamurye at the time, significantly observed that most 
of the influential Mongol princes were tied hand and foot 
by their obligations to Chinese money-lenders, " Russia's 
trade opportunities being greatly limited in consequence." 
These princes objected to the new taxes and administrative 
reforms which the Chinese authorities were preparing to 
impose ; finally, they complained also that M ongolian 
women were being freely taken in marriage by Chinese 
agricultural settlers. Of China's alleged military activities, 
upon which such stress was laid by St. Petersburg, there is 
no concrete evidence ; the rumours current on this subject 
doubtless originated, like those of the Szechuan expedition 
into Tibet, in the Peking Government's "face-saving" 
instincts — the tactics of the "Paper Dragon." On the other 
hand, the Chinese Amban at Urga, like his colleague at 
Lhassa, had undoubtedly been guilty of senseless attempts 
to interfere with local autonomy, which the easy-going 
Mongolians have always enjoyed. In attempting to make a 
prisoner of the Kutukhtu Lama (shortly after the outbreak 
of the Chinese Revolution on the Yangtsze), he provided the 
Mongols with a valid excuse for declaring their independ- 
ence, an excuse which, after the abdication of the Manchus, 
was reinforced by their ties of kinship and intermarriage 
with the deposed dynasty. 


When, in the spring of 1910, Russia and Japan united 
to veto the proposed construction of the Chinchou-Aigun 
Railway, the Russian Government suggested, as an alterna- 
tive scheme, that the Chinese Government should construct 
a line, with the help of British contractors, from Kalgan to 
Urga, the intention being to form a connection thereafter, 
via Kiakhta, with the Siberian Railway. To this sugges- 
tion the Waiwupu vouchsafed no official reply : it was aware 



that such a Hne, running through the Khingan range and 
the Gobi desert, would be a costly undertaking, com- 
mercially unprofitable, and strategically a menace to China's 
defenceless frontiers. It would shorten the distance 
between Irkutsk and Peking by almost 800 miles, but 
this consideration aroused no enthusiasm in the Waiwupu. 
For Russia, whose Imperial schemes involve vast and un- 
productive expenditure on strategic undertakings, such as 
the doubling of the Trans-Siberian and the building of the 
Amur Railway, a matter of £10,000,000 on the new 
JNIongolian route might not greatly perturb the Ministries 
of Communications and Finance. It was therefore to be 
expected that the first manifestations of the " forward 
policy" inaugurated by the Russo-Japanese Agreement of 
the 4th of July, 1910, would include provisions for railway 
construction in Mongolia. At the first opportunity, 
early in January 1912, after the revolt of the Khalka 
Mongol Princes, we find the Russian Minister at Peking 
presenting a Note to the harassed Chinese Government 
intimating that, for the future, the independence of 
Northern JNlongolia must be recognised, and its internal 
affairs placed under the control of the Kutukhtu Lama, 
who had been proclaimed temporal as well as spiritual ruler 
on December the 29th. Russia, added this Note, would 
*' assist the Mongolians in maintaining order," and would 
also construct a railway from Kiakhta to Urga. Imme- 
diately after Prince Katsura's " conversations," the semi- 
official Russian organs announced that the construction of 
this railway would be treated as a matter of urgency, and 
that the " Provisional Government " of Northern Mongolia 
would be assisted by a Russian loan.^ The traditional 

^ At the end of September^ 191:2, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs (an 
American-educated Cantonese named Liang Mao-ting) proposed to discover 
by direct enquiries at St. Petersburg the exact amount of these loans^ and 
to repay them^ and at the same time to strengthen the frontier garrisons in 
Manchuria — but these^ again, are face-saving expedients, the wriggling of 
the Paper Dragon. 



methods adopted in the Central- Asian Khanates have, in 
fact, been apphed with unusual rapidity and vigour. For 
the time being, and for decency's sake, China has been in- 
formed that she remains invested with the " sovereign 
power," but the Note above referred to intimates certain 
unusual limitations of that term. China, according to the 
terms of this document, is not permitted to interfere in the 
domestic administration of Mongolia, nor to call for 
military contributions or military service from the Mongols ; 
furthermore, she must abandon her schemes for the colonisa- 
tion ^ of this thinly-peopled, fertile region. The position is 
perfectly simple : the active self -helping races of Russia and 
Japan are determined to secure new fields for their 
emigrants and traders ; the passive Chinese race must tliere- 
fore be driven back within ever-narrowing frontiers. 

Politics apart, the importance of the Kiakhta-Urga Railway 
for the extension of Russian trade with Northern Mongolia, 
and for the development of its rich gold-mining regions, had 
attracted the serious attention of the Russian Government 
for some years past. Under M. Stolypin's direction, the 
economic aspects of the scheme had been most carefully 
considered. Russian trade with Mongolia had declined 
during the past decade, as the result of German and American 
competition, the cost of transport by sea to Tientsin and 
thence by the Kalgan route being less than camel freight via 
Siberia. To have acquiesced in the development of 
JNIanchuria and Mongolia by means of the American-financed 
Chinese railway system proposed by the Chinese Government 

^ This colonisation scheme, and much of the activity shown in its develop- 
ment since 1908^ originated with T'ang Shao-yi, who, as Governor of 
Moukden, realised that the extension of agriculture by Chinese settlers 
in this region would not only create the trade to make railway construction 
profitable, but would provide a sorely-needed outlet for the surplus 
population of China proper. The only objection to both these laudable 
intentions lies in the unfortunate fact that races more efficient in the 
business of man-killing desire possession of these fertile lands. In 1909, 
Chinese immigrants were coming;, on foot, into Northern Mongolia at 
the rate of about 8,000 a month. 



would have effectively killed overland Russian trade in that 
region. By restricting China's railway development of her 
jNIongolian Dependencies, and by constructing a Russian 
Kiakhta-Urga line to connect with the Trans-Siberian system 
at JMisovaya^ the Mongolian trade is likely to remain, for 
some time to come, a close preserve for Moscow's manufac- 
tures and Siberian traders. 

In addition to the Kiakhta-Urga line, the Russian Govern- 
ment has under consideration the construction of railways 
from Tashkent to Kashgar, and from Bisk to Chuguchak. 
There is also a scheme to connect the Urga line via Petune 
A\dth the Manchurian system at Harbin. All these pros- 
pected undertakings are clearly intended to secure the geo- 
graphical and economic gravitation of Northern Mongolia, 
and eventually of the New Dominion, into Russia's Siberian 
Empire of the future. Economically, their foundation of 
potential benefits must prove as unsound as those of the 
Trans-Siberian and Manchurian railways, which cost the 
Russian taxpayer annually between two and three millions 
sterling. But Russian empire-building was never yet con- 
ducted on business principles, as Dalny stands to prove and 
Vladivostock is beginning to realise. 


Looking out into the future, when the Far Eastern 
problem shall have been solved with the key provided by 
Prince Katsura's cultural mission," the unbiassed observer, 
who studies the problem in the light of history and biological 
science, perceives the dim outlines of another question, in- 
capable of solution by any of the professed principles of 
the political world. The Russian dream of a Far Eastern 
Empire on the Pacific was conceived in the councils of the 
Tzar, dominated by BezobrazofF, to rival Great Britain's 
Empire of India : but neither the materials nor the methods of 
the builders could ever have produced that result. The British 




dominion of India is the dominion of a governing caste, an 
aristocracy of administration ; the dominion of Russia in 
Chinese territory involves economic competition between 
the invaders and the native population. Already in Siberia, 
and particularly in the region of the Amur, the Russian 
settler has realised the futility of this competition. In the 
economic struggle for life, the Slav goes down, helpless and 
almost unresisting, before the Chinese, and even before the 
Korean. The Duma has lately recognised this elemental 
fact in prohibiting the employment of Chinese labour in the 
construction of the Amur Railway, importing its workers at 
great cost from Central Russia ; but nothing short of a rigid 
Exclusion Act, enforced by bayonets, can stop the steady 
advance across land-frontiers of the yellow race wherever a 
livelihood is to be gained by unceasing labour and penurious 

From China northwards, through Mongolia and Man- 
churia, the resistless tide of China's surplus millions has 
been steadily flowing, diverted from the American continent 
and attracted by the prospects of wealth in the agriculture 
and gold mines of these undeveloped lands. Statistics show 
that, in the Amur and Maritime provinces, the Chinese 
population has lately increased more than twice as fast as 
the Russian — the number of Chinese in 1910 was estimated 
at 310,000, despite the Duma's protective legislation. The 
attractions of an Empire in which the dominant race 
becomes economically inferior to the subject, are not likely 
to be permanent, unless the colonised territory is administered 
on broad principles of genuine Imperialism.^ What then ? 
The Russian dominion in the Far East is inevitably con- 
fronted with the problem which California and Australia 

^ Chinese settlers in the Hi (Kuldja) territory have apphed their system 
of intensive culture over a wide area^ making a garden of the desert. 
Geographically, the province gravitates naturally to the orbit of Russian 
Turkestan : economically, no Russian settlers could live there unless the 
present Chinese peasants are expelled and all others excluded. 

353 A A 


have had to face, but without the dividing seas which make 
its solution a matter of practical politics. The Chinese 
question in Siberia will mean the Jew problem over again, 
but in a highly aggravated form ; for anti-Asiatic legislation 
is physically impossible in dealing with land frontiers which 
extend over so vast an area. And the sympathies of the 
civilised world will be with the Chinese, for the reason that 
the expansion of the Russian Empire in those regions has 
not been justified by any vital necessity. It is essentially 
artificial and gratuitous, an unnecessary result of the 
ambitions of megalomaniac bureaucrats — a result which 
must inevitably impose new and unmerited burdens of 
affliction upon a sorely tried race. 

The position of the Japanese in this matter is funda- 
mentally different. If they seek to expand their Empire 
upon the Asiatic continent along the lines of least resistance, 
they have at least the valid argument of imperative 
necessity and the law of self-preservation. Russia, in 
pursuit of her Imperial " cultural mission," leaves behind 
her vast regions undeveloped and almost unpeopled. Japan, 
with an annual increase of over 700,000 mouths to feed, 
her island Empire already congested and its population 
burdened with heavy taxation^ because of the nation's 
limited resources — Japan must look beyond her borders, 
seeking new outlets and new resources, not in any spirit of 
gratuitous jingoism, but because of the insistent voice of a 
people that calls for bread and will not patiently accept 
starvation. Above the clamour of party cries and the 
shouting of extremists, Japan's Elder Statesmen hear and 
obey the deep unceasing murmur of the hungry masses, 
and because the Japanese race has learned efficiently from 
Europe the modern science of man-killing, it will assuredly 
find and secure those outlets which it seeks. In directing 

^ The Japanese tax-payer is the most heavily burdened in the world. 
He pays on the average two-and-a-half times more in proportion to income 
tlpn the average Englishman. 



the nation's destinies, the Japanese Government of to-day 
employs strategies and weapons which it has taken from 
Europe's armoury, and frequently improved for its own 
purposes — its scientifically organised Press Bureaus, for 
instance, its far-reaching secret service, and its efficiency in 
the arts and crafts of modern diplomacy. Japanese states- 
men thoroughly understand, and adapt to their ends with 
extraordinary skill, the benevolent aspirations and solemn 
pledges exchanged in Treaties and Conventions which bind 
only the weaker party. The Government at Tokyo had 
laid its systematic plans for annulling several important 
provisions of the Portsmouth Treaty even before the ink on 
that document was dry: but in this matter neither Europe 
nor America can afford to adopt a high moral tone towards 
Japan. The land of the Rising Sun needs elbow-room and 
new resources for her increasing population. In her expan- 
sionist movement there occur, it is true, certain surface 
symptoms hardly distinguishable from the jingoism of 
England or the spread-eagleism of the United States: the 
Pan- Asiatic teachings of the Tenrikyo Society, for instance, 
which are in a large measure due to resentment against 
the imputation of inferiority contained in the Anglo- 
Saxon's Asiatic Exclusion Acts. But these symptoms, like 
every other phenomenon of the national life, are used and 
directed by the Japanese Government to the furtherance of 
a continuous and consistent national policy, of which the 
mainsprings are essentially economic. There is, indeed, 
something fascinating in the steadfastness and unswerving 
purposes of Japan's Elder Statesmen, since the war with 
China in 1894 first drew the eyes of the Western world to 
the birth of a new military Power on the shores of the 
Pacific. The imperative need for expansion is clearly 
recognisable at every stage, and the determination of its 
direction reveals infinite patience and scientifically organised 
knowledge. The long years of military and financial 
preparation required to enable Japan successfully to dispute 

355 A A 2 


with Russia the path to Korea and Manchuria were merely 
the first stage of a journey of which the end is not yet in 
sight. Held back from wholesale emigration to Hawaii 
and the American continent, realising the prohibitive cost 
and the dangers of expansion in that direction, Japan has 
now concentrated every effort of her diplomacy and national 
organisation on the development of her position on the 
continent of Asia, advancing steadily westwards from Korea 
and the Liaotung Peninsula. Thus considered, the Anglo- 
Japanese Alliance, guaranteeing the integrity of China's 
territory, appears only as one of a long chain of events 
intelligently pre-arranged by Japan to obtain possession of 
China's defenceless and fertile Dependencies of the North. 


In the pursuance of these unswerving aims, born of racial 
instincts of self-preservation, Japan has made ready for 
war — she is making ready for it even now — but since 1895 
she has consistently endeavoured to avoid it, and to obtain 
her ends by " peaceful penetration," by conquest of railway 
and bank, and by diplomacy. Prince Katsura, at St. 
Petersburg last July, was undoubtedly echoing the sen- 
timents of the Elder Statesmen of 1904 when he expressed 
to M. Kokovtsoff the opinion that, if Russia had only been 
willing at that time to come to an amicable arrangement 
with Japan, " history would have had no sanguinary 
Manchurian campaign to record." Russia having learned 
her lesson of wholesome respect for the land of the Rising 
Sun, and Japanese diplomacy having succeeded in leading 
her to recognise the advantages of an " amicable understand- 
ing " ; finally, there being no possibility of hostile intervention 
by other Powers, Japan may now reasonably expect to con- 
solidate those " rights and special interests " for which she 
has laboured so long ; but her military preparations to meet all 
possible contingencies will not be relaxed, her statecraft will 



abandon nothing of vigilant co-ordination of all the nation's 
activities ; for the gospel of efficiency has sunk deep into the 
patriotic soul of the Japanese people, and they know that the 
opportunities for expansion, if not their national existence, 
must always be dependent upon material force. For the 
present, by virtue of the new entente, there is room and time 
enough for Russia and Japan to effect their respective pur- 
poses by processes of peaceful penetration and by a gradual 
re-interpretation of the statics quo ; but the Elder Statesmen 
of Dai Nippon look out upon the troubled seas of world 
pohtics with a far-seeing gaze, and everything in the present 
disposition of their forces points to perception of the truth 
that, sooner or later, there must be another struggle for 
predominance in these outlying Dependencies of the Chinese 
Empire. Economically, the Japanese wave of humanity 
spreading westwards through Korea, Manchuria and Inner 
Mongolia has nothing to fear from Russian competition ; 
strategically, the preparations which the naval and military 
authorities are steadily organising at Port Lazareff*, Dalny, 
Chang Chun and other places, are unmistakably intended 
to enable Japan, if necessary, to envelop Vladivostok and 
the Primorsk. Quietly and efficiently, using forcible and 
arbitrary measures only in cases (such as that of the Antung- 
Moukden Railway) where persuasive diplomacy has failed, 
Japan continues to make good her foothold on the mainland 
and to prepare for all emergencies. And all these activities 
are forced upon the rulers of the nation by their legitimate 
apprehensions of increasing severity in the economic struggle 
for existence. " Eastern Asia," said Marquis Komura 
recently in the Diet, "is the only safe field for Japanese 

It is not within the purposes of the present work closely 
to discuss the new problems which have arisen to disturb 
the minds of Japan's rulers, by reason of the evidences of 
spiritual decay following in the wake of the country's modern 
materialism. To many foreign observers, since Lafcadio 



Hearn wote " Japan — an Interpretation," and to many 
patriotic Japanese, it seems, indeed, that either the new Era 
of Taisho (Righteousness) must lead the people back again 
to the Way of the Gods," or that the Island Empire must 
reap the bitter fruits of a sordid commercialism. These 
questions are attracting attention in Japan as serious as that 
which the nation's leaders have concentrated upon the 
solution of its economic problems. A recent article in The 
Times describes the situation with sympathetic insight. 

" Plainly the men who hold in their hands the fate of the 
Japanese race are filled with deep anxiety. They see the 
ancient virtues of their people growing dim, the old habits 
of thrift and sobriety weakening under the allurements of a 
glittering prosperity, the old ideals of devotion and self- 
abnegation vanishing in the greedy race for wealth and ease. 
Their efforts to stem the new tendencies verge upon the 
pathetic. We hear of rescripts enjoining the moral virtues, 
of cold and passionless scrutiny of the faiths of other races, 
of ingenuous conferences to consider whether a new eclectic 
religion might not be framed and forced upon the people." 

I refer to these problems — which perturb other nations 
besides Japan — in order to suggest that certain aspects of 
the expansionist movement, and certain local or individual 
manifestations of the more unpleasant forms of materialism, 
are not necessarily to be regarded as representing the 
deliberate intentions or the permanent direction of the 
national policy. 

japan's post-bellum policy. 

In considering the present policies of Japan concerning 
the affairs and dominions of China, it will not be necessary 
to go back further than the date of the Portsmouth Treaty 
(August the 23rd, 1905). The conclusion of the subsequent 
Sino-Japanese Agreement, signed at Peking on the 22nd of 
December, actually marks the commencement of a new era, 



an era in which the avowed objects of the Anglo- Japanese 
AlUance (although specifically re-affirmed) have ceased to be 
practical politics. From the moment when this Agreement, 
with its unpublished " supplementary clauses," was signed, 
the policy adopted by Japan's diplomatic and financial 
agents was consistently directed along new lines of " peaceful 
penetration," under conditions which frequently involved 
direct conflict with the legitimate vested interests of 
Great Britain, violation of the principle of equal oppor- 
tunities in Manchuria, and disregard of British rights in the 
Yangtsze Valley provinces. Already, in August, 1905 
(coincident with Chang Chih-tung's re-purchase of the 
Hankow- Canton Railway concession from the Americans 
with money borrowed from the Government of Hong- 
kong), the agent of the Yokohama Specie Bank^ had 
succeeded in depriving Great Britain of any prospective 
benefits from that transaction ; invoking the alliance on the 
one hand and arousing the Viceroy's suspicions on the other, 
to obtain an undertaking that Japanese engineers would be 
employed in the future construction of the railway. This 
undertaking, added to the moral effect of the Yangtsze 
Viceroy's financial obligations to the Japanese, was sufficient 
to nullify the subsequent efforts of British diplomacy at 
Wuchang. In this instance, as in many others which 
might be cited, the Japanese Government was not actuated 
by any feelings of hostility towards Great Britain. On the 
contrary, where no Japanese interests were at stake there 

^ Mr. Odagiri, the agent in question^ was for many years Consul-General 
at Shanghai J and closely connected with the activities of Japan's political 
agents in the Yangtsze Valley in 1902. Possessing an extensive acquaint- 
ance amongst the higher Chinese officials, and an intimate knowledge 
of Yamen finance, he subsequently became a familiar figure in the welt- 
politik and high finance world of Peking. His appearance on the scene 
invariably portended important political developments, generally tending 
to promote Japan's peaceful penetration. A stormy petrel of cosmopolitan 
finance, and one of Japan's ablest agents in the Far East;, he completely 
out-manoeuvred the British Legation over the Hankow-Canton Railway 
loan and on other occasions, by reason of his great influence with Na T'ung, 
Chang Chih-tung and other powerful officials. 



was every indication of sincere good-will; but it became 
clearly manifest, long before the first Russo-Japanese 
i^approchement in 1907, that the policy upon which the 
Government at Tokyo was now intent would not be 
hampered by sentimental considerations of any kind. 
Profiting by her geographical advantages, her agents' 
intimate knowledge of Chinese affairs, and the international 
jealousies of the great commercial Powers, Japan had every 
reason to expect that, if China remained administratively 
corrupt and materially weak, a few years would suffice to 
establish Japanese economic and political ascendancy from 
Moukden to Canton. These ambitions were threatened 
first by T'ang Shao-yi's policy of introducing British and 
American capital into Manchuria, later by Mr. Knox's 
neutralisation scheme, and finally by the international 
concern in China's finances aroused by the outbreak of the 

By Article IV of the Portsmouth Treaty, Japan had 
engaged herself " not to obstruct any general measures 
common to all countries which China may take for the 
development of the commerce and industry of Manchuria." 
The published text of the Peking Agreement of the 22nd of 
December contained nothing contrary to the provisions of 
the article, but by one of the supplementary clauses, attached 
thereto, the Chinese Government (represented by the 
notoriously venal Na T'ung) agreed not to construct any 
railway in Manchuria parallel to, and competing with, the 
South JNIanchurian line. On the 8th of November, 1907, 
Lord ffrench (representing Messrs. Pauling and Co., the 
British railway contractors) concluded with the Viceroy of 
Manchuria an agreement for the construction of a railway to 
connect Hsin-Min-t'un, a station on the Imperial Railways 
of North China, with Fakumen, the Mongolian border town 
and trade centre. In concluding this agreement, Lord 
ffrench had the approval and support of the British Minister, 
who, at that time, was unaware of the precise interpretation 



placed by the Japanese Government upon the supplement- 
ary clauses of the Peking Agreement. Japan, without 
recourse to the " full and frank communication " prescribed 
by Article I of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, vetoed the 
construction of the Fakumen line on the ground that it 
would compete with the South Manchurian Railway. This 
argument could obviously be extended, and has been since 
extended, to preclude China from constructing any railways 
for the development of Manchuria. ^ In other words, the 
supplementary articles of the Peking Agreement constituted 
a direct violation of the provisions of the Portsmouth Treaty 
and of the preamble to the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of 
Alliance. The British Government instructed His Majesty's 
Ambassador at Tokyo to submit friendly representations " 
to the Japanese Government on behalf of the capitalists and 
contractors interested in the proposed railway and in 
pursuance of the principle of the open door. Japan pro- 
ceeded by diplomatic representations and by the publication 
of an " authoritative statement" (June the 10th, 1908) to 
justify her action and to assert a general claim to reversion 
of all the undefined ''rights and privileges " formerly held by 
Russia in the South Manchurian Railway, even going so far 
as to cite as a precedent the exclusive position maintained 
by Germany in Shantung. Herein was the first official 
intimation of a return to the " spheres of influence " regime 
which Japan had pledged herself, before the war, to oppose. 
A melancholy interest attaches at this date to the fact that 
one of the first objects of the Anglo- Japanese Alliance, ex- 
pressed by Lord Lansdowne to the Russian Ambassador 
(M. de Staal) in 1902, had been to oppose those provisions 
of the Russian Manchurian Convention " which limited 

1 In May^ 1911, the position as determined by Russia and Japan was 
thus officially defined by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs : " The 
solidarity in railway matters which exists between Russia and Japan, 
precludes the Russian Government from giving their support to any Hne 
to the south of Harbin, to which the Japanese Government should object as 
being injurious to the interests of the South Manchurian Railway." 



China's right to dispose of her own mihtary forces and to 
construct railway extensions within her own territory." 

Interesting, too, as indicating the thoroughness of Japan's 
diplomatic training, is the Chinese account of the manner in 
which Baron Komura obtained the inclusion of China's 
self-denying ordinance in the " supplementary " clauses. 
It was set forth in a despatch addressed by the Waiwupu 
to the Japanese Minister at Peking on the 6th of May, 1908, 
as follows : 

"In referring to the Conference negotiations and stating 
that China is now violating her Treaty obligations by taking 
action prejudicial to the interests of the South Manchurian 
Railway, Your Excellency is probably unaware of the fact 
that at the time China's Agreement was concluded between 
the Japanese and Chinese plenipotentiaries the latter main- 
tained that the word " parallel " was too comprehensive and 
that the Agreement should state definitely in miles the distance 
within which no parallel line should be built. To this request 
the Japanese plenipotentiary replied that if the number of 
miles were fixed it might create the impression in other 
countries that Japan intended to restrict Chinese railway 
enterprise. They were subsequently asked to agree that the 
distance should be understood to be such as would be usual 
in England or America, but they objected to this proposal 
on the ground that no general rule exists on the subject. 
Moreover, the Japanese plenipotentiary declared that under 
no circumstances would Japan do anything to restrict China 
in future from any steps she might desire to take for the ex- 
tension of means of communication in Manchuria. These 
declarations were made in all sincerity and at a time when 
the most friendly relations existed between the two 

Neither the "friendly representations" of Great Britain 
nor tlie protests of China served to induce the Japanese 
Government to define its position or its demands. China's 
proposal to submit the case to the Hague was ignored. The 
veto was uncompromising and rigid, and the Chinese, fearing 



reprisals, refrained from proceeding with the construction of 
a railway which, as The Times correspondent observed, was 
" essential for the development of the rich and thickly peopled 
area of the Chinese Empire west of the Liao river." 

The history of the Chinchou-Aigun Railway has been 
recorded in an earlier chapter. It proved conclusively that 
Japan was determined to close the door to equal opportuni- 
ties in South JNlanchuria and to prevent the establishment of 
any vested interests but her own in that region. The Knox 
" neutralisation scheme " was America's counter-move, and 
the Russo-Japanese entente the final result, England playing 
the while her double role of faithful ally and uncomplaining 


It was clear that the utility of the Anglo- Japanese Alliance 
was waning and that the increasingly strained relations 
between the United States and Japan must lead to a modifica- 
tion of the international situation. The Russo-Japanese 
Agreement of July, 1910, cast new shadows of impending 
change. It cannot therefore have come as a surprise to the 
Government of Japan when, in the summer of 1911, the British 
Government expressed its desire to modify the terms of the 
Alliance by the stipulation that Great Britain should not be 
expected to render armed assistance to her ally against any 
Power with whom she had concluded an arbitration treaty. 
Such a treaty was then in course of negotiation with the 
United States : the Alliance, properly speaking, should have 
run till August, 1915. The modification desired by Great 
Britain was effected and the Treaty of Alliance was renewed, 
in its modified form, to run for a term of ten years from the 
13th of July, 1911.1 j-jjjg date, the proposed Arbitration 

^ The Treaty of Alliance was revised on the ground that the Govern- 
ments of Great Britain and Japan believed that revision, "responding to 



Treaty with the United States had not been ratified ; if it 
had not been for her own proceedings in Manchuria, Japan 
might therefore have been justified in resenting her ally's 
action, evidently intended to remove from the field of Anglo- 
Saxon hostilities Japan's declared rival for the mastery of the 
Pacific. The subsequent action of the United States Senate 
in emasculating the Arbitration Treaty told heavily on the 
Japanese side of the question, besides creating a poor impres- 
sion of British diplomacy, which had thus exposed its hand 
to no good purpose. The position was rendered all the 
more delicate, and the action of the United States Senate the 
more short-sighted, by reason of the fact that at this juncture 
Japan was deliberately creating a diversion, for the benefit 
of her position in Manchuria, by her pourparlers with 
General JNIadero in Mexico for " fishing rights " in 
JNIagdalena Bay. There is no reason to assume any very 
keen desire on the part of the Government at Tokyo to es- 
tablish a naval base within striking distance of Panama, but 
there is every reason to believe that it had accurately gauged 
the effect of such a ballon d'essai on the Senate, and on that 
section of the American public which follows after Senator 
Lodge and " General " Homer Lea. As a red herring across 
the Manchurian trail, Magdalena Bay proved extremely 
effective, and Japanese journals on their side began seriously 
to discuss the possibility of a " Monroe doctrine for Asia." 

They discussed also, as a matter of business expediency, 
the passing of the Anglo- Japanese Alliance. With the out- 
break of the Revolution in China many business men and 
progressive politicians in Japan showed open signs of 
disaffection towards a political arrangement which seriously 
cramped their movements, and limited their opportunities, 

the important changes which had taken place in the situation, would 
contribute to general stability and repose." Article IV reads as follows : 

" Should either High Contracting Party conclude a Treaty of general 
arbitration with a third Power, it is agreed that nothing in this Agreement 
shall entail upon such Contracting Party an obligation to go to war 
with the Power with whom such Treaty of arbitration is in force." 



in China. In February, the Osaka Mainichi (representing 
the opinions of Prince Katsura) frankly complained that the 
Alliance had ceased to serve any good purpose and that it 
was operating to the detriment of Japanese interests ; other 
papers ingenuously argued that, inasmuch as the Alliance had 
originally been made to protect common interests against 
Russian aggression, it must naturally lapse now that Russia 
and Japan, with England's consent, had established an 
entente on the Far Eastern question. England's mild but 
obvious sympathies with the principle of the " open door," 
taken together with the results of the Six Nations " loan 
conferences, produced an atmosphere of unmistakably con- 
flicting interests and some strain on the loyalty of Japan's 
responsible statesmen. Both Sir Edward Grey and Prince 
Katsura have publicly referred, upon different occasions, to 
the existence of these conflicting interests and to their 
mutual satisfaction at the loyal observance of the Treaty of 
Alliance under circumstances of unusual difficulty. 


The sudden outbreak of the Revolution at Hankow 
(October, 1911), found the Japanese Government, compara- 
tively speaking, unprepared — that is to say, without definitely 
" pre-arranged " plans to meet some of its more immediate 
consequences. That trouble had long been brewing, Tokyo 
was well aware, if only because of the part played by 
Japanese agents and military instructors in the revolutionary 
organisation, and the close relations between Sun Yat-sen's 
party and Japanese financiers ; but the actual outbreak was 
accidental. It is significant of the efficiency of Japan's 
secret service and preparatory organisation that Admiral 
Kawashima arrived upon the scene at Wuchang within a few 
hours of the first signs of serious disturbance : but at that 
time the Japanese Legation at Peking shared the general 
belief that the rebellion would speedily be quelled. Russia's 



sudden development of her forward policy in Mongolia, while 
yet the outcome of China's civil war remained uncertain, 
was immediately followed by widespread agitation in Japan 
for a more vigorous and independent line of action. The 
Marquis Saionji and Viscount Uchida were severely taken to 
task by the Press for timidity and vacillation of purpose. 
Was the effect of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance to prevent 
Japan from taking advantage of the opportunities presented 
by the situation at Nanking ? W as the " Four Nations " 
syndicate to place and keep China under the bondage of 
international European finance, to the exclusion of Japan ? 
There were large vested interests of the great Mitsui 
Company and other Japanese enterprises in the Yangtsze 
provinces, and only a few months before (March, 1911) Mr. 
Odagiri had arranged his loan of a million sterling to Sheng 
Kung-pao. If Japan had no superfluous capital to offer, she 
had local knowledge and intimate relations with the Chinese, 
which fully justified her claims to play the "honest broker" ; 
more than that, a very important section of the most 
influencial opinion in Japan had come to the conclusion that 
the time had arrived to substitute for the principle of equal 
opportunities definite claims to recognition of Japanese 
priority of rights and superiority of position. 

For some time after the outbreak of hostilities at Wuchang 
the Government at Tokyo evidently hesitated as to its 
policy, for the reason that it had not anticipated the sudden 
development of the Republican movement. The advantages 
to be derived from the gratitude of the Manchus in 
supporting the Monarchy were obvious, and worthy of 
serious attention ; on the other hand, England inclined to 
benevolent neutrality, while there were undeniable possi- 
bilities of turning the Republican movement to the advan- 
tage of Dai Nippon. The Progressist, or Popular, party 
in Japan, whose leaders were in close touch with Sun Yat- 
sen, were all for supporting the Republic and establishing 
claims to the good- will of Young China. The Provisional 



Government at Nanking, looking everywhere for loans at all 
costs, was making overtures to Japanese capitalists which 
promised to give Japan a permanent hold upon the most 
valuable shipping lines, railways, mines and industrial 
undertakings in Central China. Was it not clearly the 
duty of the Government to seize these opportunities rather 
than to permit China to be enmeshed in the toils of inter- 
national finance ? One of the most important affairs thus 
proposed was a loan of Tls. 10,000,000, to be made by the 
Mitsui Bishi Company to the " China Merchants " Company, 
which, if concluded, would have given Japan a position of 
great advantage in the Yangtsze river and coast trade. 
Sheng Kung-pao, then in Japan, was anxious to convert his 
holdings in this company into cash, and the position 
generally was extremely favourable to Japanese enterprise. 
There can be but little doubt that T'ang Shao-yi and Sun 
Yat-sen made use of the eagerness which the Japanese were 
displaying in this matter to compel the " Four Nations " 
Banks to advance the funds required by the Revolutionary 
party at Nanking. The Japanese Company's preliminary 
contract had, in fact, been negotiated at the end of 
February, when T'ang Shao-yi returned to Peking, and 
after explaining the situation, demanded that a sum of 
two million taels be paid to President Sun Yat-sen. The 
money was paid through the Hong Kong and Shanghai 
Bank at Shanghai on the following day (February the 
28th), and once more the Chinese had successfully played 
off the barbarians against each other. 

Throughout the winter of 1911-12, protracted negotiations 
had been carried on between the British, French, German 
and American Governments on the subject of inviting the 
Russian and Japanese Governments to appoint financial 
groups to join the " Four Nations " syndicate. It was 
chiefly due to the representations of the British shipping 
companies at Shanghai in the matter of the Japanese 
financiers' attempt to secure control of the " China 



Merchants " business that, almost on the same date as the 
Repubhcans got their money, the " Four Nations " invited 
the Russian and Japanese Banks to enter the " ringed fence " 
of cosmopohtan finance. In justice to Japan, it must be 
admitted that at this juncture the Elder Statesmen displayed 
a fitting sense of loyalty to the Anglo- Japanese Alliance and 
remarkable control of the situation. The independent 
Japanese financiers, who had been actively pushing all 
manner of negotiations with the Nanking Government, were 
called off ; and in the case of the Okura loan, negotiated 
upon the security of the Shanghai-Hang-chow-Ningpo 
Railway (contrary to the terms of the British loan agreement 
for that line) matters were suspended, in deference to the 
representations made by the British authorities. The 
manner in which Japan made her debut upon the scene of 
international finance, and the conditions which she pro- 
ceeded to lay down as the price of co-operation, without 
available capital, in loans to China, will be told in the next 
chapter. Once admitted into the " Six Nations " group, her 
diplomats were in a position to exercise, through the 
channels of cosmopolitan finance, influences hitherto un- 
available. From this time forward the policy of Japan 
showed no signs of hesitation. ^ The line of least resistance 
had been definitely located. Four months later the 
Katsura Mission had been arranged, and the British Govern- 

1 On January the 27th Mr. Oishi attacked in the Diet the Government's 
policy in China. "The Chinese poUcy of the Administration/' he said, 
" is continually vacillating. There is probably no question so vital to Japan 
as the civil war in China, but our Government has no policy to follow. 
This indecisive attitude of the Government is illustrated by the fact that 
there are many Japanese serving both in the Imperialist and Revolutionary 
armies. Hence the Chinese regard us with suspicion. Tokyo recently 
gave its support to Peking ; yet now it claims to have been strictly neutral." 
To this the Marquis Saionji replied that Japan's undeviating poHcy from the 
outset had been to preserve strict neutrality, and to " maintain the territorial 
integrity of China." A week later. General Ishimoto, Minister of War, 
admitted that arms to the value of three million yen ("discarded but 
not obsolete ") had been sold by the Government of Japan to the Revolution- 
aries since the outbreak of the civil war. 


Coolies ox the Move, Huxgtsze Lake, Kiangsu. 


ment had recognised Japan's " special interests " in Manchu- 
ria, with a very clear appreciation of what those interests 
must involve. 

With this question, for the moment, we are not concerned 
further than to observe that if, in the fulness of time, China 
comes under a financial consortium of the Powers, it may 
safely be anticipated that her vast dependencies which lie 
beyond the Great Wall will be reserved for special treat- 
ment, and that the shibboleths of the " open door " will be 
decently buried and forgotten in that region, as they are in 

But what of the more remote future ? Is it to be expected 
that Russia will long remain satisfied to be barred by the 
desert of Gobi from her predestined path to the South ? 
When the territories of the Great White Tsar shall have 
been extended across Chinese Turkestan, NortherrI Mon- 
golia and Hei-lung-chiang to the Sea of Japan, how shall it ) 
profit Russia economically ? WiU it not be the more impera- 
tively necessary for Japan to extend and secure her ovm 
foothold on the seaboard, and politically and commercially 
to hem Russia in ? Will she await the building of the new 
Russian fleet before seizing the Primorsk and Vladivostok ? 
And at what point will cease the geographical gravitation of 
China's loosely-held territories towards Japan? To-day 
Manchuria, to-morrow Chihli — the pretexts for expansion 
will be as numerous as the opportunities are tempting. 
Looking at the whole situation in the light of recent history, 
and judging its development by what we know of the 
structural character of the Russian and Japanese peoples 
respectively and of their Empire-making policies, there 
appears to be no escape from the conclusion that the Russian 
Government is entering upon these new and perilous adven- 
tures with as light a heart and as little information as it 
displayed in the evil days which men remember by the name 
of Port Arthur. There can be no possible pretence of 
altruism in the purposes which, for the moment, have 

369 B B 


brought these rival Powers together for division of the spoils ; 
nor, in that division, can there be any reasonable doubt as to 
which Power will have most reason to congratulate itself on 
the results. The haphazard, " nichevo " methods of the Slav 
will assuredly lure him on — nay, are already luring him on — 
in the direction and for the ultimate ends of his undoing, 
arranged with scientific precision and untiring industry by 
the Japanese. It is the old story of the professional and the 
amateur. For the expansionist policy that is leading Russia 
once\ again into the uttermost parts of Eastern Asia is a policy 
of adventure ; but Japan, compelled by grim necessity, is 
struggling at all costs to enlarge her boundaries, to find outlets 
for a population rapidly increasing beyond the sustaining 
capacity of its native islands. 





china's system of gov^ernment finance. 

It is not the general purpose of this book to go much 
beyond recent events and present pohcies in China. Before 
considering the latest phases of international finance, 
however, as exemplified in the loan negotiations of the 
" Six Nations," it is necessary that the reader should form 
a general idea of China's economic needs and resources, 
and should understand through what causes and to what 
extent she has gradually become enmeshed in the toils 
of political money-lenders. 

The Manchus, even under the enlightened rule of the 
Emperors Ch'ien Lung and K'ang Hsi, never evolved 
anything equivalent to an organised political economy, as 
modern Europe understands the term. Their immutable 
fiscal system consisted of the collection of more or less 
fixed quota of bullion and grain by the Viceroys and 
Governors of the several provinces, for the support of the 
Imperial Court and the maintenance of the eight Banners. 
The shortcomings of any province incapacitated by famine, 
floods, or other visitations of the wrath of Heaven, were 
usually made good by supplementary levies on its more 
prosperous neighbours, the whole business involving con- 
tinual appeals and explanations, and rule-of-thumb arith- 

371 B B 2 


metic. The total amount officially remitted to Peking by 
the eighteen provinces averaged annually some forty 
millions of taels (say five millions sterling). This sum 
represents the amount heretofore receivable by the Central 
Government for the purposes of the Court, the administra- 
tion of the Metropolitan province and the defences of the 
north-west frontiers. It does not by any means represent 
the Court's total income, nor the funds actually disposed 
of by the metropolitan mandarins, because it takes no 
cognisance of the vast sums continually paid by expectant 
or promoted officials in the shape of bribes, douceurs, 
birthday presents and peace offisrings. The official quota, 
always published in the Memorials of the Board of Finance, 
were fairly regularly remitted, and may be said to have 
represented the Manchu Government's visible means of 

For the remittance of this comparatively trifling sum of 
forty millions of taels to Peking, and for the purposes of 
provincial administration, most of the funds collected by the 
provincial Treasurers were levied on trade. The Chinese 
people has always been firmly and successfully opposed to 
the levying of direct taxation, whether for Imperial or for 
local purposes ; ^ so that, with the exception of a land-tax 
assessed at a very low rate, the local authorities were 
compelled to look to trade (and generally defenceless trade in 
transit) to supply the Imperial and provincial revenues. 
The total amout of these national revenues, prescribed partly 

^ This statement does not apply to Chinese communities resident abroad 
(e.g., in British or Dutch Colonies) where, in return for direct taxation, 
they receive definite benefits of public administration and security for life 
and property. In the Foreign Settlements at Shanghai half a million 
Chinese residents contribute regularly and cheerfully the rates and taxes 
imposed by the authority of the Municipality. In Peking, the authority 
of the Ministry of the Interior is insufficient to secure regular payment 
of a tax on shop rentals or jinrickshas. The fact is that the essentially 
practical mind of the Chinese race declines to pay, because it has realised 
that four-fifths of all taxes go to line the pockets of the mandarin, and that 
the mandarin has no means of enforcing direct taxation. 



by a rough and ready system of * olo custom,' and partly by 
the necessities and rapacities of the moment, has varied but 
httle in the official returns of the past fifty years : it may be 
said to have averaged some 90 millions of taels pe?^ annum, 
(say, twelve millions sterling) for the whole of the eighteen 
provinces. Of this total, about three-quarters would fairly 
represent the amount levied on trade, through the Imperial 
Maritime Customs coUectorate, the salt and opium taxes, and 
lekin on grain and general merchandise. Needless to say 
that, for every tael officially accounted for by the provincial 
authorities, at least five are actually collected from the tax- 
payer. The whole system — it is for the moment disorganised 
but not superseded — consists literally of hand-to-mouth 
expedients and opportunities for peculation thoroughly 
vicious and wasteful. From the Manchu Government's point 
of view, so long as Peking received its annual quota in grain 
and sycee, the administrative machine had fulfilled its 
purposes, and so long as the Empire remained isolated, 
solving its problems by these hand-to-mouth methods, the 
ancient machine worked, on the whole, without more acci- 
dents and friction than occur with those of the latest modern 

The indemnity levied upon defeated China under the 
Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895 threw the whole machine out 
of gear and inaugurated a period of financial disorganisation 
the evil effects whereof were rapidly cumulative. The 
annual charges, for interest, on the loans raised to pay the 
Japanese indemnity amounted to no more than ^\ millions 
sterling, but the remittance of this amount, as an additional 
burden on the Provincial Treasuries, reduced ^ro tanto the 
balances available for local purposes. Their arbitrary exac- 
tions, under the headings of lekin and excise, were corres- 
pondingly increased, to the great detriment of trade and the 
general impoverishment of the middle classes. After the 
Boxer rising, which imposed a further strain upon the 
Imperial Exchequer, matters grew steadily worse, the 



amounts required for the payment of the greatly increased 
burden of indemnities being obtained by a variety of expedi- 
ents, all of which were calculated in the long run to aggravate 
the general situation. Peking continued to expect its 
undiminished remittances ; the total service of the foreign 
loans had increased, by the end of 1908, to a total of sixty 
million taels, or roughly, 7^ millions sterling. By profits 
on the minting of more or less debased coinage, by the issue 
of paper money unsupported by bullion reserves, by loans 
and by increased levies on staple exports at the centres of 
production, the Viceroys and Customs Taotais managed to 
scrape together the funds required, taking care, at the same 
time, to feather their own nests in view of the debacle which 
many foresaw. The results were fatal to the economic 
development of the country's resources in many directions. 
The tea trade was steadily ruined by the imposition of 
heavy lekin and by wasteful methods of preparation ; China's 
predominant position as a producer of silk was gradually 
impaired, to the immediate benefit of Japan ; even the 
production of raw cotton was subjected to taxation of a kind 
that effectually prevented any systematic development of an 
industry which might otherwise have greatly benefited the 
Empire. By * squeezes,' by lekin barriers innumerable, and 
by every possible expedient of reckless money-raising, the 
mandarin continued to fulfil his own purposes and the 
requirements of Peking : but the results showed a persistent 
balance of trade against China, and the only means of 
meeting the country's liabilities (small though they are in 
relation to the size of the Empire) lay in the raising of fresh 


It has been generally stated for many years past, and 
commonly accepted as a truism, that the developed re- 
sources and commercial possibilities of China are enormous: 
at the same time, the anxiety of England and other Powers 



to maintain the " open door " and their keen competition for 
the Chinese market, have flattered Young China's amour 
propre and intensified its determination to develop these 
resources in its own way and for its own benefit. The 
journalists and politicians of the Treaty Ports are never tired 
of expatiating on the miraculous growth of trade and industry 
which is to take place in every part of the country when 
once the Republican Government shall have been recognised 
and when foreigners shall have consented to the retrocession 
of their extra-territorial rights ; and these roseate visions 
have produced an undeniable effect on the Press and money 
markets of Europe. In so far as the mineral resources of 
the country are concerned, there exists some justification, 
based on the scientific observation of experts, for these 
optimistic opinions. The researches of Baron Richthofen 
justify the belief that, with honest administration and 
modern methods of working, China might speedily attain to 
a high place amongst the world's producers of coal, iron, and 
steel. Apart from the production of minerals, however, 
reliable data are lacking as to the potential resources of 
China in the production of surplus staples of trade, whether 
pastoral or industrial. On the other hand, there is every 
reason to expect that the congested population of the central 
provinces will always require for its needs by far the greater 
part of what the country can produce. There is nothing in 
our knowledge of China to justify the belief that wealth has 
been hoarded, or is being hoarded, to any considerable 
extent, as in India, by the masses of the population. On 
the contrary, China's frequently recurring famines are surely 
the acute symptoms of the chronic poverty of this people, 
vast numbers of whom live within measurable distance 
of starvation. The essential industry of the country, based 
on its patriarchal system of immovable traditions, is, like 
that of Russia, agricultural, but the pressure of population 
on the food supply is infinitely greater than in any other 
part of the world. The position is clearly reflected in the 



rough figures generally current concerning the trade, popu- 
lation and vital statistics of the country. The population, 
loosely stated by missionaries and by the Chinese themselves 
at 400 millions, is known to be at the present day about 320 
millions, which figure includes the inhabitants of Manchuria 
and Mongolia. Accepting this as the approximate total, 
the per capita value of China's foreign trade may be put at 
about seven shillings, which is lower than that of any other 
country in the world. Similarly, taking the rough total of 
foreign loans and indemnities (exclusive of the sums raised 
for the construction of railways) as 120 millions sterling, the 
national debt per capita amounts roughly to eight shillings. 
In other words, the commercial and economic position of the 
Chinese remains in a rudimentary state of evolution, from 
which progress must be difficult so long as the social 
conditions and structural character of the race remain 
unchanged. This rudimentary condition is no matter for 
surprise when we remember the nature of the country's 
government, not only under the Manchu dynasty, but under 
its predecessors, and considering how few have been the 
encouragements given to foreign trade, how limited the 
opportunities for industrial enterprise. 

The needs of the economic situation have frequently been 
discussed by authorities innumerable, most of whom have 
realised that the reorganisation of the country's revenues and 
finances upon a sound and honest basis is a matter of impera- 
tive urgency. If we consider this matter without prejudice 
and in the light of all experience, it is not possible to hope 
that this fundamental reform can be effected without the 
employment of competent Europeans, invested with a reason- 
able measure of authority. The history of industrial enter- 
prise under mandarin control in China leads inexorably to 
this conclusion. It is a conclusion naturally distasteful to 
the patriots of the new dispensation, and there are, no doubt, 
a certain number of honest citizens of the Republic whose 
legitimate amour pro'pre is wounded by the suggestion. 



Nevertheless, they themselves individually admit (though 
collectively they may deny) that the number of self-seeking 
and dishonest officials is so great that, given a free hand, 
they must infallibly increase the disorganisation of the 
country's finances and prevent the establishment of a stable 

Given laws for the equitable levying of taxation, and 
centralised forces capable of carrying them into effect ; 
given economic and industrial activity, directed by disin- 
terested and efficient experts : finally, given improved means 
of transport and modern methods, there is no doubt that the 
land tax, the Customs, and a reasonable amount of excise on 
salt, opium, tobacco and other commodities would speedily 
place China in a position of solvency and even of prosperity. 
What has been done in Turkey under the direction of Sir 
Richard Crawford could be done in China. But the Budget 
proposals of the Ministry of Finance and the proceedings of 
the Republican Government, reveal no intelligent apprecia- 
tion of the country's needs or knowledge of its resources. 
On the contrary, they continue to reveal rigid adherence to 
mandarin methods, a large vagueness, and a persistent secret- 
iveness which afford ample ground for insisting upon effective 
supervision of foreign loan funds' expenditure.^ In a 
pamphlet dealing with the recent loan negotiations,^ Sir 
Robert Bredon states that two Finance Ministers had told 
him that secretiveness is almost forced upon them. " They 
confess it to be due to the fact that the Central Government 
cannot vouch for the accuracy of the component sub- accounts 
(inferentially, nor for the capacity and reliability of the 
accountants) and so they have never dared to submit a 
national Budget to international criticism." The facts and 
figures cited by the Chinese Government in defining its own 

^ All these have been emphatically demonstrated in the loan negotia- 
tions, which^ at the end of September, culminated in the agreement 
concluded with the financial house of Birch-Crisp & Co., and which, for 
the time being, have evaded the condition of supervision over expenditure. 

2 China — the Loan Situation at Date. By Sir Robert Bredon. April, 1912. 



financial position, are, indeed, so solemnly farcical as to lead 
many observers to despair of a nation whose leaders can 
produce such things. Useful, perhaps, for purposes of face- 
making," and to provide foreign financiers with "official" 
materials for loan prospectuses ; but in other respects 
merely the ornamental gilding of an edifice of organised 


The "Imperial Budget" for the year 1911 was actually 
published, after long discussion and careful revision by the 
National Assembly, showing an estimated surplus. The 
reader will be able to form for himself an idea of official 
Chinese finance by glancing at the headings of the Income 
side of this Budget. For purposes of comparison, and to 
show how firmly mandarin methods persist amidst all the 
Republican Government's professions of reform, I have 
placed beside it the estimates of Income as stated by 
President Yuan Shih-k'ai at the opening of the Advisory 
Council on the 29th of April last. 

Estimated Income (in 

millions of taels). 

Before the Revolution. 

After the Revoli 

Land Tax .... 

50 millions 

46 millions 

Salt and Tea Tax . 


. 46 

Customs Revenue 


. 42 

Sundry Taxes 


. 36 


. 43 

Income from Govt. Property 

47 „ 

. 37 


Sale of Official Ranks . 


. Nil 

Sundry Income 


. 19 

Sale of Govt. Bonds 


Total . 



Even the ingenious pundits whose business it is to make 
these toy bricks without straw in the precincts of the 
JNIinistry of Finance could not well include the sale of 
Official Ranks in the sources of Kepublican Income ; in 
other respects, however, they have clung firmly to precedent, 



probably on the excellent principle that no good purpose is 
served by changing things which have never had any prac- 
tical significance. At the same time, it was necessary to 
show that the income available for the Republic's purposes 
was " elastic." The somewhat disturbing statements made 
by the Premier (T'ang Shao-yi) to the Nanking Assembly 
on the 29th of March and the prospect of large borrowings 
in the immediate future led, therefore, to the adoption of 
devices calculated to display the necessary elasticity and, at 
the same time some knowledge of modern Budget-making. 
The above headings of Income were accordingly described 
as " Ordinary," and supplemented by an Extraordinary, or 
" Provisional," Budget, bringing the total up to the 300- 
million-tael mark of 1911. It showed supplementary es- 
timated receipts from Land Tax and Native Customs (the 
latter calculated wdth nice precision to a fraction of a dollar) 
and a sum of 25 millions to be derived from " Contributions, 
Government Credit Notes and Sundry Receipts." Beyond 
a general proposal to increase the Foreign Customs duties 
with the consent of the Powers, there is no suggestion in all 
these puerilities of any serious attempt to reorganise the 
fiscal policy and the internal revenues of the country. 

Addressing the Nanking Assembly on the 29th of March 
T'ang Shao-yi, as Premier, declared China to be " the most 
poverty-stricken country of the world," quite incapable of 
solving its immediate problems or developing its industries 
except by recourse to borrowing on a large scale. A fair 
idea of Chinese official finance may be formed upon the 
subsequent exposition of the situation by the Premier — one 
of the very ablest of foreign-educated officials — and by the 
part which he himself played in the loan negotiations. His 
attitude from the outset was characterised by a supreme 
indifference to facts and a general recklessness of methods, 
combined with a determination to borrow as rapidly and as 
freely as possible under any conditions which would place 
foreign capital at the unfettered disposal of the Republican 



authorities. He stated that the deficit on the Ordinary- 
Budget for 1911 was 54 millions of taels, to which must be 
added 24 millions for "Extraordinary " expenditure. Interest 
and amortisation overdue on foreign loans and indemnities 
he placed at 50 millions, to which he added another ten 
millions for the service of the Hukuang and Currency 
Loans — though the latter had not been issued. He 
estimated the amount required during the year for the 
disbanding of eighty divisions of the army ^ in the South at 
80 millions of taels ; he proposed to devote 20 millions to 
provision for reconstruction " of property destroyed during 
the Revolution, and to " grants, pensions and indemnities to 
the servants of the nation with provision for the maintenance 
and education of their offspring," with another 7 millions for 
the " expenses " of the Provisional Government ; finally 
concluding that a sum of 215 million taels (say £28,000,000) 
must be obtained by means of foreign loans to meet the 
absolute necessities of the Republic for the current year. In 
the face of such a programme, outlined by the Premier of 
China, combined with his party's avowed determination to 
resist all attempts to introduce effective supervision over loan 
funds' expenditure, it was inevitable that the Governments 
behind the " Four Nations " Banks should perceive something 
of the dangers of the situation, and that the British and 
French Governments, in particular, for the protection of 
their bondholders' interests, should insist upon a return to 
the safeguards unfortunately abandoned in 1908. When, on 
the 14th of March, T'ang Shao-yi concluded his " uncon 
trolled " loan agreement with the " Belgian group " at a rate 
of interest two per cent, higher than that at which he could 
have borrowed from the " Four Nations," and when, two 
days later. Dr. Sun Yat-sen persuaded the National Assembly 

1 The Imperial Army of China^ distributed (largely on paper) throughout 
the provinces, consisted at the end of 1911 of thirty-six Divisions. The 
attempt to obtain vast sums for the wholesale disbanding of the imaginary 
forces in the South was one of the most significant features of the Premier's 



at Nanking to ratify this agreement in secret session, it 
became impossible for either Foreign Offices or financiers to 
cherish any further delusions as to the value of the 
Republican leader's professions of financial reform. The 
arrogance displayed by the Premier in discussing these 
questions with the Diplomatic Body at Peking, his flagrant 
breach of faith and super-mandarin quality of duplicity, 
terminating in his ignominious exit from the Premiership, all 
proved, in a certain sense, to be blessings in disguise : for they 
served to emphasise the fact that the mandarin has learned 
nothing and forgotten nothing, and to convince the State 
Department at Washington, and the Foreign Office in 
London, of the necessity for closer supervision of the 
proceedings of international finance at Peking. It was 
realised that China's financial salvation could only be worked 
out on lines of benevolent tutelage, from which mandarin 
rapacity must be eliminated, and that, if borrowing on a 
large scale was to be encouraged, it must be with guarantees 
and safeguards more effective than those which had been 
accepted by the " Four Nations " s^Tidicate in the cases of 
the Hukuang and Currency loans. 


The financiers themselves recognised the fact that, if 
China's national debt was to be increased by 50 per cent., as 
T'ang Shao-yi and other responsible officials proposed, the 
credit of the country on the European money-markets could 
not long be maintained at its present artificial level, except 
by insistence on conditions which would secure the expendi- 
ture of loans on genuine reforms and reproductive under- 
takings. The leaders of the Republic had proved themselves 
just as irresponsible and untrustworthy as the Manchus. 
Yuan Shih-k'ai's proposals to increase the Customs duties 
and to re-organise the Salt Gabelle could afford no 
permanent security for foreign capital under the policy pro- 



claimed by T'ang Shao-yi and the chiefs of the T'ung Meng- 
hui, nor was there anything to justify behef that the reforms 
promised by the President were seriously contemplated by 
the Government as a whole. His speech at the opening of 
the Advisory Council was impressive enough^ — but all its 
rare and refreshing fruit of progress had been vainly promised 
for years in the Treaties and Edicts of the Monarchy. 
Currency reform, the " employment of talented foreigners, " 
business-like methods of Government finance, mining laws, 
religious toleration, industrial development, abolition of lekin 
— all these had loomed large on the horizon of fulfilment 
since the days of the Burlingame Mission. The British 
Foreign Office, concerned for the protection of the vested 
interests of traders and bondholders, came perforce to the 
conclusion that a return to the safeguards abandoned in 1 908 
must be an essential condition in all Chinese Government 
loans. Had it not been for the mutiny of Yuan's troops 
and the looting of Peking at the end of February, and 
T'ang Shao-yi's breach of faith on the 14th of March, that 
conclusion might not have been reached : but the impression 
created by these two events was sufficient to make further 
complaisance for the time being, at least, impossible. The 
investing public in England was dimly aware of the fact that 
the Republican Government's Treasuries at Peking and in 
the provinces were empty ; that the revenues which formed 
the security for existing loans had been considerably affected 
by the temporary abolition of lekin and the reduction of the 
Opium imports, and that only a reasonable prospect of 
reformed administration could justify further investments of 
foreign capital in Chinese Government bonds. It was 
beginning to be realised that Young China had so far failed 
to produce either honesty of administration or any strong 

1 " Never before," telegraphed The Times correspondent at Peking, " has 
such an address been made to the nation by a responsible statesman." 
Three months later, reverting to this declaration of policy, the North China 
Daily News observed, "In the light of actual experience, it sounds like 
a dream : he is clearly powerless to enforce one line of what he preaches." 



expression of public opinion calculated to create it. The 
China bond market was therefore likely to become a " bad " 
market unless the Government could be compelled by 
pressure of impecuniosity to consent to the effective control 
over the expenditure of loan funds. For once, the Govern- 
ments of the commercial Powers were united by identical 
motives of enlightened self-interest, their divergences of 
policy reconciled in a common appreciation of the financial 
and economic aspects of the situation. They were speedily 
to learn — as will be seen — that the course of true business 
never can run smoothly in China ; that there can be no such 
thing as a " purely commercial " loan to the Government of 
that defenceless State, and that the complexities of interna- 
tional finance offer no solution of the problems created by its 
disorganisation and inefficiency. The commercial Powers 
were soon to be convinced of the simple fact that a loan to 
China, however "purely commercial" in intention, creates 
vested interests — and therefore valuable political assets — for 
the nation whose capital is actually or nominally invested ; 
and that the creation of such interests in desirable and annex- 
able regions is regarded as an " unfriendly act," if not as an 
offence, by the " powerful neighbours," who aim at partition 
of the Sick Man's estate. 

The united policy adopted by the " Four Nations " 
shortly after the declaration of the Republic, the policy 
enjoined upon the Banking syndicate as a condition of its 
monopoly of diplomatic support, was practically identical 
with that which Mr. Knox had proclaimed when the State 
Department, inaugurating its vigorous dollar-diplomacy, 
secured admission for American financiers within the " ringed 
fence," in June, 1909. Mr. Knox had declared the 
American Government's aim to be " to secure a sympathetic 
and practical co-operation of the great Powers in maintaining 
the political integrity of China by making it to the interests 
of each to support such a policy. Where nations invest 
their capital they are intent upon preserving peace and 



promoting the development of natural resources and the 
prosperity of people." 


The sentence last quoted deserves special attention, inas- 
much as it contains the germ of a widely-spread and 
insidious fallacy. Mr. Knox's conception of the value of 
international finance as a factor making for peace and good- 
will amongst men, is based on that modern theory of 
economics which Mr. Norman Angell has so ably elaborated 
in The Great Illusion — a theory which appeals power- 
fully to Europe's instincts of humanitarianism, and gives 
comfort to those earnest philanthropists who hope to bring 
about the abolition of warfare. The American State 
Department was soon to learn, however, that this theory, 
and its chief conclusions, can never be universally 
applicable, and that, particularly in the Far East, economic 
interdependence in no wise serves to restrain the ambitions 
or to limit the aggressions of powerful neighbours. Look- 
ing at the question from the point of view of European 
experience and the conditions actually obtaining amongst 
the heavily-armed commercial and industrial nations, we 
cannot refuse to recognise many of the premises upon 
which this comfortable doctrine is based. There can be no 
doubt that the economic interdependence of the congested 
centres of European civilisation acts as a powerful restrain- 
ing force, preventing sudden outbreaks of hostilities. No 
doubt that, as Mr. Angell puts it, "the capitalist has no 
country. He knows, if he be of the modern type, that 
arms, and conquests and jugglings with frontiers, serve no 
ends of his.^ " The events which brought about the fall of 

^ Sir Robert Bredon, writing from Peking on the 1 9th of April to a London 
newspaper, observed, " The haute finance of the world cannot be anything 
but international. It would be well that bank management should realise 
that it is no longer national, has no patriotism, and no more conscience or 



the Caillaux ministry in France have sufficiently demon- 
strated a truth which has its unpleasant sides. Economic 
interdependence, and the cosmopolitan finance which repre- 
sent its denationalised interests, have assuredly predisposed 
towards peace the commercial Powers of the Western 
world, and this as a simple matter of enlightened self- 
interest, because the victor in a war between such Powers 
stands to lose quite as heavily as the vanquished. 

But the manifestations of economic interdepe? idence are 
not confined to London, Paris and Berlin ; against its 
undeniable effect in preventing or retarding war (as in the 
Morocco crisis last year) in Europe, must be set its equally 
indisputable capacity for breeding strife in other directions, 
and for deliberately contriving the political extinction of 
defenceless nations. Granted, if you will, that the anguished 
cry of the Berlin Bourse may drown for a little while the 
rumble of the distant drums ; granted that the voice of the 
cosmopohtan financier carries no little weight with 
Counsellors and Kings : all recent history (and particularly 
the history of Asia) teaches us, nevertheless, that economic 
pressure masquerades at times under the cloak of that 
" national honour " which even Mr. Roosevelt declares to be 
beyond the scope of international arbitration. The latest 
results of economic interdependence in Persia, China, 
Turkey, Mexico and the States of the Caribbean Sea, teach 
us something more ; for they show that cosmopolitan 
finance, the fine flower of that economic consortium which is 
to give us the millennium, contains in itself more germs of 
unrest, more elements of strife, than all the religious disputes 

sense of honour than modem business morals hold to be sufficient." 
British bank management has for some time shown a decided inclination 
to conform to Sir Robert Bredon's ideal ; but so long as international 
finance in France, Germany, Japan and other commercial countries con- 
tinues to be under Government direction for the advancement of national 
interests, and so long as England neglects this elementary precaution, 
the dangers with which cosmopolitan finance threatens Britisli interests 
are many and great. 

385 C c 


of the Middle Ages. AVhen all is said and done, the re- 
straining force of cosmopolitan finance amounts to this — 
that the denationalised individuals who dominate finance, 
and therefore politics, in the capitals of the civilised world, 
naturally subordinate all national and patriotic considera- 
tions to the promotion of their own " interdependent " 
self-interest; that they have learned to minimise the war 
risks of unprofitable competition and to increase their 
profitable opportunities at the expense of the unsophisticated 
and the weak. 


Glance for a moment at the actual proceedings of the 
Powers which first gathered together at the Hague upon the 
invitation of the Emperor of Russia, to discuss the inaugura- 
tion of the Era of Peace, earnest advocates all of inter- 
national arbitration and the abolition of armaments. 
AVherever the earth still contains valuable and loosely-held 
property, these philanthropic Powers are steadily annexing 
or exploiting it for their own purposes, always in the name of 
Peace and in the interests of humanity and civilisation. 
Italy in Tripoli, France in Morocco, the United States in the 
Panama region, Japan and Russia in Manchuria and 
JMongolia, England and Russia in Persia — everywhere we 
find the eternal law working itself out — the law which pre- 
scribes the survival of the fittest. And behind this inevitable 
process of evolution, he who looks may see, ever lurking, 
the shadow of cosmopolitan finance — not as the white dove 
of Mr. Carnegie's Peace Palace, but as a keen-eyed vulture, 
hungrily watching the distressed movements of sick or 
wounded races. Long before international finance had 
fashioned its delicate and most effective machinery, Ruskin 
wrote : ^ 

1 From Unto This Last. 

Removing his Valuables, Tientsin', March 1912. 



" It is one very awful form of the operation of wealth in 
Europe that it is entirely capitalists' wealth which supports 
unjust wars . . . and all unjust war being supportable, if 
not by pillage of the enemy, only by loans from capitalists, 
these loans are repaid by subsequent taxation of the people." 

The present condition of affairs in Turkey, in Persia and 
in China would assuredly have afforded Ruskin a new text ; 
for it clearly reveals international finance acting upon the 
enlightened principle that it is economically safer and 
sounder to divide the spoils of " peaceful penetration " rather 
than to fight for them with weapons, military or financial. 
The history of modern Turkey discloses, perhaps, more 
completely than in any other instance, the machinery by 
which a brave but inefficient people can be undone by the 
activities of the cosmopolitan financier. And to-day, 
China is advancing rapidly down the same path of five per 
cent, and destruction, threatened on the one hand by the 
tender mercies of the political money-lender, and on the 
other, by the corruption and greed of the mandarin. 

For many years past, indeed, it has been very clear that 
the Chinese Empire must attract the serious attention of 
those predatory preachers of peace who sit in the high place 
of Europe's money-markets. For, as Renter justly observed 
in a telegram describing the " Four Nations " loan negotia- 
tions at Peking, " the Chinese Government knows nothing 
of finance " ; its present necessities are great, and its 
potential resources, that is to say, the collateral securities 
available for future distribution, are generally believed to be 
enormous. The carcase is large, fat and unwieldy : small 
wonder that there should be envy, hatred and malice 
amongst those who stand outside the " ringed fence " of the 
" Four Nations " group's Government-protected monopoly. 

It is unnecessary to recapitulate here the history of 
international finance in China since the fateful day when 
Count Cassini inaugurated at Peking Russia's policy of con- 
quest by Railway and Bank. Parts of the story have been 

387 c c 2 


told in preceding chapters, regarding it from the particular 
standpoints of British, American or Japanese policy. It is 
an instructive, but a sordid tale, a tale of persistent 
aggression on the one hand and hopeless corruption on the 
other. ^ Between the exposure of China's defencelessness by 
Japan in 1895 and the collapse of Russia's Far Eastern 
Empire-building ten years later at the hands of the same 
conquering race, international finance served merely to cloak, 
with some appearance of decency, the policy of organised 
spoliation pursued by all the great Powers. As Michie well 
says : 

" The scramble which moderate men had hoped to see 
indefinitely postponed, was entered into with the zest of a 
Cornish wrecking raid. The officious interference of quasi- 
friendly Powers to save the derelict Empire from mutilation 
proved, according to unvarying experience, a remedy which 
was worse than the disease. Russia, Germany and France 
proceeded to treat China as a No-Man's-Land : disintegration 
was the order of the day. The example was, of course, 
contagious. Other Powers, with no more substantial ground 
of claim than was afforded by the defencelessness of China, 
began whetting their knives to carve the moribund carcase.'' 

Japan's victory over Russia temporarily arrested the process 
of territorial aggression in 1905, and necessitated a re- 
arrangement of the balance of power and new combinations 
in the field of cosmopolitan finance. But its insidious 
processes, working along new lines, were scarcely interrupted 
during the brief breathing space that followed the Treaty of 


It was not long before Japan showed, by her policy of 
peaceful penetration in Manchuria and by the activities of 

1 The corruption of high Chinese officials has been no less notorious 
than that of the Manchus. It was Li Hung-chang who, at the Tsar's 
coronation at Moscow in 1896, sold Russia the right to carry the Siberian 
Railway into and through Manchuria. 



her financiers in Europe, that she too had mastered all the 
secrets of peaceful penetration " ; the ascendency of her 
financial agents in official circles at Peking was more com- 
plete and less expensive than Russia's had been, and she 
possessed machinery which Russia had never disposed of, in 
the numerous Japanese military instructors, school teachers 
and soshii distributed all over the Empire. Finally, she had 
the alliance with Great Britain, a steadily improving position 
in the European money markets, and time on her side. 
From the moment of her coming to terms with Russia, she 
could look for financial support not only in England but in 
France,^ so that the actual position at the moment of writing 
appears to be more ominous for the much -guaranteed 
integrity of China than it was even after 1895. 

When the United States, in June, 1909, had successfully 
asserted rights to participation in the political financing of 
China, the line of action laid down by the State Department 
was (as I have shown elsewhere) incontestably logical and 
sound. It coincided, moreover, with the avowed aims of 
British policy, but it failed, because possession is nine points 
of the law of nations, and because once Russia and Japan 
had settled their differences and agreed upon a joint policy, 
neither benevolent theories nor moral principles could avail 
anything. When, under the " Currency Reform and 
Industrial Development" loan agreement of April, 1911, 
the " Four Nations " group obtained from China first-option 
rights for all future loans intended to continue or complete 
the development of Manchuria, American publicists, un- 

1 It is understood that, for the purposes of the "Six Nations" loan to 
China, Japan will borrow a large portion of her share of these loans from 
France, a Franco- Japanese bank being established in Japan for the purpose. 
Ten years ago, French rentiers were providing the funds to build up a 
Russian Empire in the Far East ; to-day they are offering funds, for purposes 
of reform, to China, and for the maintenance of her territorial integrity ; 
to-morrow they will be financing the development of the Manchurian and 
Mongolian Dependencies as Japanese and Russian territories. Herein we 
perceive how, pace Mr. Angell, "jviggling with frontiers" may be made 
to serve the ends of the capitalist. 



deterred by the fiasco of the neutrahsation scheme, rejoiced 
at so signal a success of " dollar diplomacy." Their short- 
lived jubilation served merely to announce the intro- 
duction of two more partners into the company of China's 
actual and prospective benefactors. The fact that neither 
Russia nor Japan has any capital to lend, did not deter 
either Power from vetoing this future loan provision of the 
IVIanchurian development agreement, and claiming rights 
which involve repudiation of China's claim to sovereignty in 
that region. The signature of the " Four Nations " loan was 
welcomed by the "American Association of China," as 
relieving the fertile Manchurian provinces from foreign 
aggression by the " combination of four of the most power- 
ful nations in the world becoming suddenly possessed of 
vested interests in that region " — a combination whose 
object it was " to protect a weak and embarrassed nation 
from avaricious neighbours." The original intentions of 
the American State Department, when embarking upon 
its adventurous course in Chinese finance, had been, firstly, 
to handle this Manchurian loan as a purely American 
business and, secondly, to insist upon the regular and 
honest administration of all loan funds. The first of 
these intentions was abandoned so soon as the risks of 
isolation were emphasised by the conclusion of the Russo- 
Japanese agreement ; the second was quietly dropped when, 
with fuller knowledge of men and methods at Peking, the 
American group realised that the Chinese Government 
would make no loans involving effective supervision or 
control of mandarin expenditure, and that Anglo- German 
finance was not then disposed to insist upon "vexatious 
interference." The Currency loan, as concluded, was a 
melancholy monument to good intentions frustrated, for 
the American group of financiers speedily realised the 
futility of tilting at windmills, and finding their chances 
of profitable business incompatible with altruistic aspirations, 
naturally preferred the prospect of five per cent, and peace to 



any doubtful policy of sentimental philanthropy and con- 
tention therewith. 

As matters stand at present (October 1912), the 
Powers behind the " Six Nations " financial consortnnn are 
at one in insisting upon effective supervision of the ex- 
penditure of any foreign loans that China may contract. 
How long this laudable unanimity will stand the strain of 
international jealousies, private initiative of financiers and 
mandarin intrigue, remains to be seen : it is an open secret 
that, before joining the international group last April, and 
even later, Russia used every effort to persuade the French 
financiers to adopt an independent line of action. Similarly 
we know that when Russia and Japan vetoed Article XVI 
of the Currency loan, German diplomacy encouraged China 
to disregard the veto, with the object of creating difficulties 
between Russia and France. Finally, we know that, in 1909, 
Britain and France had definitely declared effective control 
of loan funds to be a sine qua non for the ultimate security of 
bondholders, and that, nevertheless, this condition was not 
enforced in the Hukuang and Currency loans. The strength 
of the chain of good intentions in this matter has repeatedly 
proved to be no greater than that of the weakest link. So 
it must continue to be, and all the weight of the provinces, 
led by the Radicals of Young China, will be brought to bear 
against any form of control calculated to deprive them of 
the free handling of loan funds. 



Such being the actual position of affairs, it is interesting 
to examine more closely this vital question of "control." 
Advices from Peking and from the provinces indicate that, 
so far as the merchant class, the disinterested patriots and 
the older officials are concerned, the majority are in favour 
of a large loan being raised for purposes of reorganisation 



and economic development, and that they recognise at the 
same time the necessity of securing its honest expenditure 
by measures of foreign expert supervision, of a type similar 
to that which has long been established with excellent 
results in the Maritime Customs, and in the administration 
of certain Railways. They realise that dishonesty and 
mismanagement in public affairs have been just as con- 
spicuous since the inauguration of the Republic as they 
were under the Manchus at their worst, if only because the 
central authority has been weakened and because, as Yuan 
Shih-k'ai's Presidential Mandates have declared, " extortion 
and illegal exactions have been the order of the day, making 
life and property unsafe throughout the land." Against 
them and their opinions are ranged the loudly patriotic 
Press, the students and the military commanders, who per- 
ceive that foreign financial supervision means the curtailment 
of their opportunities. The Provincial Assemblies and many 
of the local gentry support this opposition, their object being 
to prevent the central Government from borrowing except 
under conditions which shall permit of the money being 
available for the uses (and abuses) of provincial officialdom, 
without supervision or control of any kind. It is the history 
of the Hangchow-Ningpo Railway over again. In this in- 
veterate and self-seeking spirit of locality lies a principal 
cause of the permanent difficulties between Peking and the 
provinces ; herein lay the stumbling block which overthrew 
Sheng Kung-pao and the Railways Centralisation scheme, 
and the first cause of the revolutionary outbreak in Szec- 
huan. That there is not the slightest objection in any 
quarter to foreign capital, as such, is plainly proved by the 
suicidal loans recently contracted on their own account by 
several provincial authorities. The opposition of the mal- 
contents is entirely directed against regular supervision and 
properly audited accounts. 

The issues have been deliberately confused, for purposes 
of popular agitation, by extremists like General Huang 



Hsing, lately Commander of the Forces at Nanking, by Sun 
Yat-sen's and T'ang Shao-yi's henchmen of the Tung JNIeng- 
hui, and by their foreign adherents and advisers. They pro- 
fess to base their objection against European expert account- 
ants on patriotic grounds, continually referring to the history 
of Egypt and Persia as examples of the disastrous results of 
foreign financial control. It is undeniable that their argu- 
ments have gained force from the unfortunate association of 
Russian and Japanese political ambitions with the loan 
question ; since neither of these Governments has capital to 
lend, the admission of their representatives to the financial 
combination representing the genuine interests of the 
commercial Powers was bound to create apprehension in the 
minds of the Chinese. That Russia and Japan should seize 
the moment of China's embarrassments to consolidate their 
" special interests " in Manchuria and JNIongolia, was perhaps 
to be expected : but it was not to be expected, except by 
confirmed cynics, that the Governments behind the original 
" Four Nations " syndicate would give their sanction to a 
politico-financial loan of the kind created by the " participa- 
tion " of Russia and Japan. It can scarcely be denied that, 
by becoming parties to such operations, the Powers concerned 
became morally responsible for the establishment of a Russo- 
Japanese Protectorate in the regions to the North and West 
of the Great Wall, and, ipso facto make the Treaty of 
Portsmouth of no effect. It is therefore not surprising that 
sincerely patriotic Chinese should base strong objections to 
the " Six Nations " loan on justifiable misgivings as to its 
political consequences, and this without reference to the 
question of foreign supervision of expenditure. Herein they 
differ from the baser sort of politicians, who care little or 
nothing as to the fate of Manchuria and Mongolia, but 
fiercely resent the idea of expert accountants in Chinese 
finance. These stalwarts, with the example of T ang Shao-yi 
to encourage and guide them, prefer provincial loans at 8 per 
cent, (half of the amount to be spent on unnecessary arms 



and ammunition, and the other half handed over without 
questions asked) to a Government 5 per cent, loan, accom- 
panied by reasonable supervision of expenditure. 

The merchants of the Treaty Ports and, generally speak- 
ing, the classes that have a stake in the country, are as I 
have said, in favour of expert supervision and honest handling 
of foreign loans, recognising the fact that only by these means 
can the money be spent to the country's economic advantage. 
The old style mandarins and opportunists of the classical type 
advocate (as usual) giving the shadow of supervision and 
withholding the substance by the appointment of more or less 
irresponsible foreign advisers." Fatal compromises of this 
kind unfortunately appeal not only to the mandarin, but to 
the laissei^-faire school of diplomacy and to the financier, 
content with the assurance of Government support and the 
materials for a good prospectus. 

In the maze of political entanglements which beset the 
proceedings of the unwieldy Six Nations " syndicate, a clear 
course is not easily to be found. From the Chinese, as well 
as from the British traders' point of view, the most natural 
and beneficial solution of the problem must lie in the direc- 
tion of foreign expert financial supervision of expenditure 
under Chinese Government control, a simple solution, for 
which excellent precedents now exist in satisfactory working 
order. Any attempt at financial supervision of revenue com- 
bined with semi-political stipulations for the protection of the 
interest of any Power or Powers, can only make confusion 
worse confounded ; so long as China remains a sovereign and 
solvent State, no good purpose can be served by proposals to 
establish direct foreign control of the salt or other sources 

of income. All that is required is that every dollar of loan 
funds' expenditure should be certified correct by a reliable and 
responsible European accountant.^ If Young China cannot be 

1 This condition would probably be attained, ii^ due course, and without 
friction, if a straightforward declaration were simultaneously made by the 
British, French and American Governments to the effect that any loan 



persuaded or coerced into acceptance of this simple condition, 
it were better for all concerned that, for the present, there 
should be no further loans, or at least none for which the 
Governments of the commercial Powers make themselves 
morally responsible. 

So much has been written in the European Press during 
the past six months concerning the inner history of the " Six 
Nations " loan negotiations, the part played therein by T'ang 
Shao-yi as Premier, and the policy of Russia and Japan 
before and after their admission to the consortium, that a 
remme of the main facts should be of interest to the general 
reader. In any case, these facts are matters of history, and 
the development of the complex situation therefrom arising 
cannot fail to affect the destinies of the Chinese people, for 
good or evil, in the immediate future. I propose, therefore, 
to record the course of the loan negotiations from the date 
(1 3th of February) when Yuan Shih-k'ai was nominated First 
President of the Republic by the Nanking Assembly. 


On the 17th of February, the acting Minister of Finance 
(Chou Tzu-chi) inquired whether the Four Banks were 
prepared to finance the Provisional Government. He 
desired immediate advances at the rate of Tls. 6,400,000 
(say £850,000) a month, half of which was to be devoted to 
the purposes of the Republic " in the South." 

On the 27th of February, T'ang Shao-yi (who had arrived 
from Nanking on the previous day) met the Four Banks' 
representatives to continue negotiations. While nominally 
acting under the instructions of Yuan Shih-k'ai, T'ang 
assumed from the outset an independent and dictatorial 

which failed to include it would not be recognised. Such a declaration 
would leave China free to borrow in the open market, subject always to 
supervision of expenditure^ and would practically preclude her from incur- 
ring any heavy debts without it. 



attitude; in private conversations he repeatedly declared 
that he would break the " ringed fence." To the Banks he 
outlined a vague scheme of fiscal reforms and industrial 
development, the results of which were to form the security 
for a large reorganisation loan. He suggested that the 
Banks should undertake to finance China to the amount of 
£60,000,000, in equal instalments spread over five years. 
He was urgent in his demands for an immediate advance to 
be made to Sun Yat-sen at Nanking; on the 28th of 
February, therefore, the Banks made a first advance of two 
million taels to Sun s representative at Shanghai. On the 
following day, the precarious nature of the Provisional 
Government's authority was demonstrated by the looting 
and burning of Peking at the hands of Yuan Shih-k'ai's own 
troops, an event which naturally gave pause to the financiers 
in Europe and America who were then considering the 
question of financing the Republic. The mutiny of the 
troops and destruction of property continued unchecked on 
the night of the 1st of March. On the following morning, 
T ang Shao-yi addressed an urgent communication to Sir 
John Jordan, stating that the situation was out of hand and 
suggesting that the Diplomatic Body should assist in 
preserving order ; ^ but this did not prevent him, at the same 
time, from requesting the Four Banks to obtain forthwith 
the sanction of their respective Governments to a further 
advance of Tls. 1,015,000 to meet the immediate needs of 
the Peking authorities. A week later (March 9th), the 
Four Governments having authorised the arrangement, the 
money was handed over, and letters were exchanged, 
embodying the conditions under which these two advances 
were understood to be made. Briefly stated, these con- 
ditions gave the Four Banks a "firm option" for furnishing 

^ This extraordinary request was subsequently declared by Yuan 
Sbih-k'ai to have been made without authority. It was, nevertheless, 
a determinant factor in the Diplomatic Body's immediate decision to parade 
the city daily with a strong force drawn from the Legation Guards. 



Fkoto, Le Muiiyon, Peking. 

F/ioto, Lc Munyon, Peking. 

Sfarchinc; the Ruins after the 29TH of February, Peking. 


the monthly quota of funds which the Repubhcan Govern- 
ment would require from March to August, and a 
conditional option on the large Re-organisation loan, which 
it was proposed to raise at some time between June and 
December. The monthly advances were to be covered, for 
the time being, by Treasury bills, redeemable during the 
year from the proceeds of the Re-organisation loan. The 
condition attached to the "option" on the latter was of a 
kind frequently introduced in Chinese agreements; it left 
T'ang Shao-yi free to invite outside competition, while 
morally binding the Chinese Government to give the " Four 
Nations " Banks a first refusal of all terms thus obtained. 
It is a condition which had proved thoroughly unsatisfactory 
on previous occasions, opening a wide door for chicanery 
and intrigue, unfair alike to the Four Banks and to their 
bond fide competitors. The option, being made conditional, 
was not an option at all, but only a source of misunder- 
standing and strife, as events speedily proved. 

On the 11th of March, two days after Yuan Shih-k ai had 
put his seal on the Note embodying these arrangements, 
T'ang Shao-yi applied for a further advance of five million 
taels, a step naturally regarded as taken in pursuance of the 
terms of Yuan's Note. At this point, the Four Banks met 
in conference at London, as the result of which their Peking 
representatives were authorised to agree to furnish the 
monthly advances and definitely to undertake the large loan, 
subject to certain guarantees. Amongst these guarantees, 
necessitated at last by the Four Nations' Governments' 
collective recognition of the dangers of the situation, there 
was to be provision for effective supervision of loan funds 
expenditure. This condition, fatal to the aspirations of 
Young China and the provinces, was uncompromisingly 
opposed by T'ang Shao-yi. He took strong exception also 
to the Four Banks' refusal to comply with his request for a 
sum of three million taels to be devoted to " redemption of 
military notes." 




Acting with his usual impetuosity, and before the Four 
Nations' " conditions had even been officially communicated 
to him, T'ang proceeded to conclude (on March 14th) 
with a so-called ** Belgian " group, a separate agreement for 
an immediate loan of a million sterling, with an option for 
nine millions more. President Yuan formally endorsed this 
arrangement, and despite the protests of the ** Four Nations," 
it was ratified in hot haste by Sun Yat-sen and the Nanking 
Assembly. Everything in T'ang's proceedings pointed 
unmistakably to his desire to obtain large sums of money at 
all costs, free of supervision as to its expenditure. It was 
immaterial to him that the rate of interest charged by the 
Belgian " group was more than two per cent, higher than that 
at which the " Four Nations " were prepared to finance the 
Republic. It was immaterial to him that the Belgian Bank 
was acting as the agent of the Russian Government, and 
that the Russian Government's political aims in the matter 
were indicated by the nature of the security pledged — a 
first mortgage on the Peking- Kalgan Railway. Under 
the Monarchy, as Director- General of Railways, T'ang had 
frequently declared that China would never again pledge her 
railways, and especially the native-built Kalgan line, as 
security for any loan ; yet as Premier of the Republic, he 
proceeded to pledge the only Railway in China which the 
Manchus, as a matter of State policy, had kept free of 
political entanglements. 

I have shown in an earlier chapter by what means the 
financiers of Japan, profiting by the needs and greed of the 
Republican leaders, forced their way into the international 
comortium. It was now Russia's turn to apply her own 
peculiar form of pressure, and with equal success. T'ang 
Shao-yi s breach of faith (clearly premeditated, since he had 
been secretly negotiating with the Sino-Belgian Bank for 
over a month) afforded in its consequences a most instructive 



object lesson in the facile adaptability of international 
finance and in some of its political under-currents. As far 
as T'ang Shao-yi's i^ole was concerned, it began and ended 
with obtaining funds at all costs. To secure ratification of 
the Belgian loan by the Nanking Assembly, he led that body 
to believe that no money had been advanced by the Four 
Nations " Banks in INIarch and that no rights had been given 
to them by any form of agreement ; he exposed the Repub- 
lican Government to humiliating censure by the Ministers 
of the Four Powers and gave Russia a new starting point 
for encroachments on Chinese territory.^ Telegraphing to 
Sun Yat-sen for the information of the Nanking Assembly, 
on the 16th March, he observed that ** as the provinces of 
Mukden, Shansi, Shensi, Kansuh, Honan and Kuangtung 
are all clamouring for funds, and as the Four Powers group 
only allows Tls. 6,400,000 per month for five months to come, 
it is not enough and therefore this special loan is needed." 
It was passed by the Assembly ; the " Belgian " group paid 
over its first £970,000, and within a month T'ang Shao-yi 
was being violently denounced at Peking and at Nanking 
for misappropriation of funds from the loan and from the 
" Four Nations " advances. Nevertheless, scarcely one of 
the Treaty Port journals commented on the fact that the 
Premier of China was deliberately injuring the good name of 
the Republic and the financial credit of the country by 
his reckless and indiscriminate methods of money raising. 

It is unnecessary to relate in detail the further history of 
the Belgian loan. By the end of April the financiers had 
found a way out of the difficulties thereby occasioned ; 
Russia had been admitted within the consortium fold ; the 
Chinese Government had agreed to cancel the Belgian 

1 " The action of T'ang Shao-yi/' said The Times correspondent telegraph- 
ing from Peking on the 21st March, "is generally condemned at Peking 
in strong terms as adding to the country's difficulties by making enemies 
of powerful Banks, and exposing the President to the annoyance of a protest 
from the Foreign Ministers." 



contract, as a violation of the undertakings given by tjie 
President to the " Four Nations " Banks on the 9th 
March — and T'ang Shao-yi was prepared to resume, with 
unruffled serenity, his negotiations for further advances. 
He now informed the International Bahkers that his im- 
mediate requirements were 35 million taels, most of 
which was to go towards paying off disbanded troops 
(alleged to number 850,000) and the redemption of " war 
notes." The obligations of the Revolutionary leaders in- 
cluded, iiite?^ alia, payment for 1,400 German machine guns 
at £500 apiece, landed at Shanghai and never used. The 
necessity for " stringent foreign supervision " was becoming 
daily more obvious. 

Russia's political finance at this juncture, however, proved 
unusually interesting. Early in February, the Russo- 
Asiatic Bank, financial agents of the Russian Government 
in the Far East had negotiated a loan of £1,500,000 with 
the Nanking revolutionaries, money which it was under- 
stood was to have been supplied through the house of 
Schroeder and Co. of London and the Banque d'Outremer 
of Brussels. But the Russian Government had in the 
meantime joined the other Powers in their declaration of 
benevolent neutrality, and this loan to the Republicans was 
therefore abandoned. Nevertheless, and despite the fact 
that negotiations for the admission of the Russo- Asiatic 
Bank to the " Four Nations " group were then proceeding, 
the so-called Belgian" loan of the 14th March was 
actually a Russian undertaking, political in its origins. 
The Peking representative of the Russo- Asiatic Bank 
stated openly at the time that, although the Belgian Bank 
had been put forward to sign the agreement, he had in fact 
negotiated it himself under instructions from the Russian 
JNIinister of Finance — methods curiously reminiscent of 
Russia's first Pavlov-Pokotilov era of conquest by Bank. 

On the 2nd April, Mr. Odagiri, representing the 
Yokohama Specie Bank, designated by the Japanese 



Government, was formally admitted to the negotiations 
and business of the International group of financiers. On 
April 24th, the Russo- Asiatic Bank at St. Petersburg 
notified the " Four Nations " Banks that it had been 
appointed "to represent^ tiie Russkm Government in under- 
taking a participation with the other Powers" in the 
Chinese Re-organisation loan and advances. 

Both the Russian and Japanese GovernmeMs accepted 
the " Four Nations' " invitation " to participate in the 
financing of China," on the basis of equality and on con- 
dition that the loan funds should not be expended in such 
manner as to prejudice their respective " special rights and 
interests " in Mongolia and Manchuria, Russia seizing the 
opportunity to adumbrate special rights also in " Western 
China." The British and American Governments, in 
instructing their respective financial groups as to their line of 
action, intimated their willingness to accept the Russian and 
Japanese stipulations, so long as they referred to no special 
rights and interests other than those defined by Treaties and 
Conventions concluded between those Powers and China. 
This decision marks an important stage in the Russo- 
Japanese advance, for it is to be observed that, for the first 
time, the consortium of international finance at Peking was 
framed to include individuals definitely recognised to be 
representative of their respective Governments, and not 
merely of financial institutions. 


A conference of the six groups of financiers was arranged 
to meet in London on the 15th May. In the meanwhile, 
their representatives at Peking were authorised (May 
4th) to advance the sums urgently needed by the Chinese on 
the condition that satisfactory guarantees were given that 
the funds would be properly expended. On the 12th of 
May, the Chinese Government consented to an arrange- 

401 D D 


ment by which the bondholders' interests would be pro- 
tected by the appointment of a foreign Auditor, to act 
jointly with a Chinese official Auditor ^ in signing requisitions 
on loan funds, and by certain stipulations as to the methods 
to be adopted in paying off disbanded troops. The " Four 
Nations " financiers professed (despite all experience to the 
contrary) to consider this arrangement satisfactory, and the 
Foreign Offices were apparently content to accept their 
guidance in this vital matter. Had Russia and Japan been 
concerned with business and not with politics, the question 
of China s loans would probably have been settled, for the 
time being, at this stage. But it was not to be. The con- 
ditions actually named by the new partners in the consortium 
not only introduced political complications of a far-reaching 
description, but even threatened to disturb the ''ringed fence s" 
financial arrangements on the London and Paris money 
markets ; to poach, in fact, on the officially protected pre- 
serves of the " Four Nations " Banks. The political draw- 
backs might possibly have been overcome, for they concerned 
only China's sovereign rights over her northern and western 
Dependencies ; but conditions which infringed on the 
financial privileges and profits of the protected groups could 
not be tolerated. 

The " Six Powers " conference, held in London on the 15th 
May, failed, therefore, to come to an agreement with the 
Russian and Japanese delegates. The points of diffisrence 

1 The Auditor nominated by the Banks was Herr Rump, hitherto known 
as Auditor of the German section of the Tientsin-P'ukou Railway. As an 
indication of the nature of the security Ukely to be conferred under this 
arrangement, the appointment was ominous, for the auditorship on this 
railway had proved worse than useless as a preventive of official peculation. 
Telegraphing on the 16th July, 1909, The Times correspondent reported: 

There is much scandal regarding land frauds and squandering of loan 
funds in connection with the German section of the Tsientsin-P'ukou 
Railway. The Chinese managing director has been removed, but no one 
else has been punished. The revelations are significant because they 
support the view widely held that the agreement does not adequately 
safeguard the expenditure of the foreign loan funds." 



are worthy of notice, for they throw an instructive Hght on 
several aspects of international finance applied to practical 

The Japanese Government required that a specific agree- 
ment be recorded, providing that the proceeds of the Re- 
organisation loan should not be expended in Manchuria and 
iNIongolia ; but the Banks, on their side, could not go beyond 
an agreement which would exclude purposes prejudicial to the 
" special rights " of Japan in that region, where defined by 
Treaties or recognised by the Treaty Powers. The political 
objects underlying Japanese participation in loans (for which 
she had no capital to offer) were thus plainly manifested. 
The Japanese Bankers, moreover, in their financial capacity, 
insisted on reserving rights to transact loan business with 
Chinese Companies independently of the International 
groups, and to issue their share of the Re-organisation loan 
in London, not through the agency of the British group, but 
through their own London branch. 

The Russian Government made stipulations practically 
identical with those of the Japanese and, as regards the 
flotation of the Re-organisation loan, insisted on its right to 
issue its share of the capital in Paris and London not 
through the French and British groups but through the 
syndicate which had negotiated the Belgian " loan with 
T ang Shao-yi, a proposal obviously prejudicial to the Banks' 
local interests. Failing to agree to these terms the Four 
Banks continued to finance the Chinese Government, under 
the conditions accepted on May 12th, authority being 
given for further advances to a total of six million taels 
between the 15th and the 24th May. 


Had the Governments and financiers of the Four Nations 
maintained a solid front at this juncture, the Chinese financial 
problem would probably have been solved, and the political 

403 D D 2 


ambitions of Russia and Japan postponed, at least for the 
time being. But at this point the whole weight of Russia's 
far-reaching influence on the French money market was 
brought to bear, with the result that the French Government 
used its control of the Bourse to prevent participation in 
any further advances to China pending further efforts 
to come to an understanding with the Russians. How- 
ever great the French Government's sympathies with 
the policy pursued by Great Britain and the United States, 
it could not aflbrd to risk a quarrel with a Government so 
deeply in its debt as the Russian. The attitude of France 
was obviously that of an anxious creditor. To terminate 
the deadlock thus created, a further conference of the 
*^ Six Nations " financiers was arranged, and held in Paris 
on the 7th and 8th June. As regards Manchuria and 
Mongolia, it was finally agreed that the proceeds of the 
Re-organisation loan should be devoted to the general 
purposes " of the Chinese Government, leaving special 
enterprises for separate consideration. Subsequently, how- 
ever, Russia and Japan formulated identical declarations, to 
the effect that they would only participate in the proposed 
loan on the understanding that nothing connected therewith 
should operate to the prejudice of their special rights and 
interests in the regions of Mongolia, Western China and 
Manchuria. It was evidently not within the scope of the 
Four Banks' powers to accept or even to consider such 
stipulations, and the deadlock therefore continued. Mean- 
while, the Chinese Government was clamouring for further 
advances and threatening to borrow elsewhere. 

It was understood at this time that the Japanese Govern- 
ment adopted the course of making certain direct suggestions 
to the British financiers in regard to the political and 
financial status of Manchuria and Mongolia. Eventually, 
at a final conference, held in Paris on the 18th June, 
it was finally decided to conclude a " Six Nations " agree- 
ment on the understanding that each group would consult 



its Government, before the conclusion of any loan, and 
would not entertain any business to which its Government 
might object. 

The Russian Government, while approving the general 
tenour of the Banks' agreement, subsequently intimated 
that, in the event of its disapproving any of the purposes 
for which it was proposed to lend money to China, the 
Russian group should be entitled to withdraw from the 
agreement and resume complete liberty of action. This 
stipulation was accepted by the Bankers of the " Four 
Nations " group making a virtue of necessity. It was 
manifestly plain that French finance — a dominant factor in 
the situation — was at the disposal of Russia's new political 
ambitions and equally evident that, in the event of France 
withdrawing from the " Six Nations " consortium^ it would 
be impossible for British and American financiers to face the 
political opposition of Russia and Japan, backed by French 


The " Six Nations " agreement, as finally concluded, 
suggests several interesting reflections. Firstly, that the 
Powers without capital to dispose of, but with an aggres- 
sive policy backed by material force, are able completely 
to dominate the counsels of that international finance which 
ostensibly represents the interests of the Commercial Powers. 
Secondly, that the attitude frankly adopted by the re- 
presentatives of the Russian and Japanese Governments, 
and tacitly accepted by the Governments at the back of the 
" Four Nations " Banks, amounts to a complete and 
categorical denial of the sovereign rights of China in 
Manchuria and Mongolia ; that is to say, that the Powers 
concerned, under the thin cloak of financial operations, have 
deliberately acquiesced in annulling the Portsmouth Treaty, 
the avowed objects of the Anglo- Japanese Alliance, and the 



principle of the open door and equal opportunity. Finally, 
as matters stand, the banking agreement sanctioned by 
the capitalist Powers gives to the two Powers who have no 
capital to lend a virtual right to veto any and every attempt 
to assist China in the development of her economic and 
material resources.^ 

The reader must draw his own conclusions from the facts 
of the situation. Looking at the question from a purely 
British point of view, it would seem to be conclusively 
demonstrated that the avowed objects of Great Britain's 
policy in the Far East are not likely to be attained by 
confiding them to the direction of the financiers whose 
immediate interests may lead them at any moment to 
acquiesce in political schemes diametrically opposed to those 
objects. England and France practically control the 
international loan market : but the strength of their position 
is wasted under existing conditions, for the want of a common 
policy based on intelligent anticipation of events, and 
because the political finance of both nations has become in a 
great measure denationalised. 

1 On the 9th of October, 1912, Mr. Acland, replying for the Government 
to questions in the House of Commons, defended the monopoly of 
support " extended to the " Six Powers " syndicate of banks on the ground 
that it was most advantageous for the representatives of the Powers to act 
in concert to prevent loans from individual groups, which would he used 
to obtain political advantages for pariicular countries as against the general 
advantage of China herself The reader must judge for himself whether 
this is naivety, sheer ignorance, or party politics. 

On the 24th of October, Mr. N. Craig asked the Foreign Secretary 
" whether it was in the public interest to withhold information of transactions 
which tended to create a monopoly, and would undoubtedly affect British 
interests." — To this Sir Edward Grey is reported to have replied that 
there were no political conditions" attached to the secret conditions of the 
Six Powers groups. 




It is a poor bogey at best, this Yellow Peril, bred by- 
ignorance out of a bad national conscience : a bogey that 
must stand confessed a tatter'd boggart in the light of ancient 
history and recent experience : yet a phantom that has 
served, and should serve again, many a politician's turn. 
The modern world fears, even while it seeks, these grisly 
phantoms which make its comfortable flesh creep, and in the 
Yellow Peril the fervid imagination of yellow journalists has 
found a perennial source of thrills and shudders. Preaching 
from the text of Japan's military achievements, they have 
assumed for all Asia a vivifying community of interests and 
ideals, attributing to the patient pacific millions of India and 
China a sudden and complete change of all their inherited 
tendencies, beliefs, and institutions. They forget that these 
inherited customs and beliefs constitute the very soul of a 
people, the essence of its national life ; they ignore the fact 
that the Spartan qualities of endurance and energy which 
animate the statesmen and warriors of unconquered Japan, 
are the ripe fruit of long centuries of training and sustained 
ideals ; and, forgetting these truths, they hear, in the 
intellectual and emotional ferment of India and China, the 
rumble of the distant drums that shall lead new conquering 
hordes to the overthrow of Europe's civilisation. Not from 
the barren mountain-lands of Turkestan and Manchuria, as 
of old, are to come the fierce invading hosts, but from the 



long-gowiied peaceful peoples of the great plains, from those 
races whose philosophy and ideals have made them, through 
long centuries, the unresisting victims of invasion and 
tyranny. It is a fantastic dream, reflecting, no doubt, the 
eternal and unbreakable spell of the Orient over the West, 
the unconscious reverence that materialism pays to intel- 
lectual dignity, but wholly lacking, nevertheless, in historical 
sense and recognition of fundamental conditions. For it is 
impossible, considering the actual and historic facts of 
Asiatic life, to assume for the East that unity of purposes 
and ideals which is the basic assumption underlying the 
Yellow Peril: as impossible as to imagine an effective 
coalition of Western Europe against North or South 
America. The stern law of nature and evolution, which 
prescribes the survival of the fittest, is not suspended in 
Asia ; there are predestined hewers of wood and drawers of 
water amongst its peoples to-day as in the time of Joshua — 
a fact emphasised by the recent history of Korea. Neither 
patriotic student, politician nor fervent idealist can take 
from Asia, by any incantation of new formulae, her deep- 
rooted instincts and beliefs, bred of long centuries of isola- 
tion, of the Confucian philosophy and Buddha's contem- 
plative creed — instincts and beliefs that have made the 
whole inspiration of Oriental philosophy and civilisation 
essentially non-aggressive, and have made the Chinese, 
in particular, a race of passive resisters. Neither warrior 
class nor code of chivalry exists in China, like that of 
bushido in Japan, to temper the hereditary servility of 
the masses with precepts and examples of loyalty, valour 
and endurance ; and the recent manifestations of political 
and social unrest amongst the educated classes reveal but 
little hope of national unity and cohesion for the future. 
By all precedents and principles of history, it must require 
several generations of patient educative process to develop 
in the Chinese people the qualities requisite for military and 
administrative efficiency. 



The iVIaiichu tribute-eaters have gone their ignominious 
way to obscurity ; Sun Yat-sen and his following of book- 
taught theorists have proclaimed the dawn of a new era in 
the Chinese Republic ; and already, amidst the tumult and 
the shouting of leaders who have not learned to lead, the 
North is ranging itself against the South in rivalry, whilst 
Mongolia looks towards Russia for protection, Thibet casts 
off her allegiance, and Manchuria prepares to follow Korea 
on the path of geographical gravitation. 

Nevertheless, and in spite of all these things, the Yellow 
Peril bogey continues to oppress the imagination of the 
Western world : this persistent vision of the Chinese race, 
roused from its long lethargy, and feverishly arming itself 
for wars of conquest and revenge. It is a ghost that refuses 
to be lightly laid. Only a few months ago the British Press, 
gravely discussing the decision of the National Assembly at 
Nanking to introduce national conscription (they might as 
well have decided to introduce the minimum wage), esti- 
mated China's standing army of the near future at forty 
millions of men. Some of the most critical and competent 
of recent observers have succumbed to this obsession, and to 
that tendency towards generalisation which seeks a common 
battle-cry for India, China and Japan. Professor Reinsch, 
for instance, whose scholarly work on " The Intellectual and 
Political Currents in the Far East " deserves more than 
passing attention, has studied the history and literature 
of China sufficiently to realise and to declare that "no 
more fantastic idea has ever played a part in serious politics 
than that of the military Yellow Peril." He knows that 
" the traditional temper of the Chinese is eminently pacific 
and quietist." Yet he apparently ignores the results which 
follow naturally from the emotional and idealistic qualities of 
this word-spinning people — qualities which greatly detract 
from the ostensible importance of its Imperial Edicts and 
other official pronouncements. Because of the vigorous 
wording of the Edict of April, 1911, on military reform, 



he is led to believe, in spite of his own convictions, 
that : 

To-day we are witnessing the awakening of this vast 
people to new energies and to more active conduct of affairs. 
Peaceful China, the land of non-assertion, is fast becoming 
military. The ideal of national energy, efficiency and 
strength expresses itself in all public utterances. Great 
sacrifices are made for military preparation, and throughout 
the provinces even the children in the schools are put into 
uniforms and trained in soldierly fashion, 

and, in another place, that 

The idea that evils are to be borne, or at most resisted 
quietly, has largely passed away, and in its place has arisen 
the belief that only through positive heroic action can the 
troublesome problems of national life be solved. 

At a time when the masses of the Chinese people have 
submitted, with traditional apathy, to being harried, 
plundered and slaughtered by the forces of that Republic 
which delivered them from Manchu tyranny, the irony of 
this infectious idealism is apparent. Fascinated by the 
spectacle of the splendid enthusiasms and iconoclastic seal of 
Young China, Professor Reinsch, like many others, forgets 
the vast gulf which, in this land, divides words from deeds 
— the making, from the keeping, of laws. And so he 
believes in the vision of a national army, efficiently 
organised and regularly paid — a vision as chimerical as the 
scheme for refunding China s national debt by patriotic 
subscriptions, or the Nanking Amazons' demand for female 

In expressing this opinion, I have no desire to convey the 
idea that the Chinese are utterly deficient in military virtues, 
or that, properly led and regularly paid, the Chinese soldier 
is incapable of bravery, endurance and discipline. The 
experience and opinions of British officers and military 


Army Manceuvres, 1908. Balloon Section. 

Fleet of Junks, armed with Hotchkiss Quick-firing Guns, assembled to 
SUPPRESS Mutiny at Ngankin, November, 1908. 


critics is practically unanimous in recognising that in 
physique, intelligence and courage of a stolid kind the 
peasantry of several provinces provides excellent material ; 
but just as it requires something more than intelligence and 
enthusiasm to make an efficient administrator, so something 
more than able-bodied and adaptable men are needed to 
make a nation in arms. The qualities lacking alike in 
Chinese administrators and soldiers are essentially moral 
qualities. This is what Gordon meant when, fifteen years 
after his unique experiences as a successful organiser and 
leader of Chinese troops, he recorded (in a memorandum 
prepared for the Government at Peking) his deliberate 
opinion that they could never be successfully pitted against 
European armies. He who had witnessed nmch desperate 
fighting between Imperialists and rebels — much tlie same 
kmd of fighting as was seen at Wuchang in November last 
— realised, nevertheless, that the race as a whole, and 
particularly its leaders, are lacking in the moral qualities 
and berserker instincts that distinguish a fighting race. 
When, in 1874, he warned China against going to war with 
Russia, he amplified his advice by recommending that for 
the future she should avoid incurring useless expenditure on 
warships and guns, because her possession of these things 
would probably arouse the cupidity of aggressors and she 
would be despoiled — advice of which China has since had 
cause to appreciate the wisdom. Gordon knew the Chinese 
soldiers of the South, even as the British officers of the Wei 
Hai-wei regiment learned to know and to appreciate the 
hardy hill-men of Shantung; but while appreciating their 
several good qualities and recognising the possibility of their 
development in good hands, he failed to see in the Chinese 
dragon any signs of the fierce and formidable beast which 
has since been evoked to trouble the peace of the West. 
He knew that large purchases of armaments and paper 
schemes of reorganisation do not make a national army, and 
that fiscal reform (then, as now, a task beyond the unaided 



resources of China's rulers) must precede military efficiency. 
This indeed was the opinion formed by the most competent 
observers among the military attaches who witnessed the 
last manoeuvres, held in the autumn of 1908; and it has 
been justified by the complete lack of discipline and 
organisation revealed since the collapse of the Manchus. It 
would be difficult to say how much of the regular army 
remains at the present moment of the 240,000 men who 
figured on the roster of the thirty-six divisions of the Lu 
Chlin in the autumn of 1911. At the outset, divisions, 
brigades, regiments and battalions became hopelessly 
entangled — sheep without shepherds. Units were sent to 
the front and wandered back to their headquarters; some 
were disbanded, others disbanded themselves; some declared 
for the Republic, some for the Imperial cause, others for 
Yuan Shih-k'ai or Li Yuan-hung, or General Chang, or 
General Li, their choice depending generally on prospects of 
pay; but to all, as time went on, came realisation of the 
fact that every body of armed men might with impunity 
hold lootable cities and citizens at their mercy. And with 
this knowledge, the army and the military police became, 
in many places, a disorganised and predatory rabble. The 
craze for loot proved stronger than any appeal of patriotism 
or discipline. 

The tendency to exaggerate the military forces and 
efficiency of China in recent years may be traced to a variety 
of causes.^ Of these, the most important lay originally in 
the deliberate policy of Chinese diplomats and officials, a 
policy clearly intended to create and maintain the idea of 
China feverishly arming on a gigantic scale, with a view to 
the intimidation of possible aggressors. With the dramatic 
conversion of the Empress Dowager to reform in 1902, and 
the appearance on the scene of a new class of military officers 

^ The population of China has been similarly exaggerated. It is con- 
tinually stated to be 400 millions, though the only attempt at a systematic 
census (1910) shows it to be about 320 millions. 



educated in Japan, serving in their turn as instructors, it was 
not difficult to increase the foreign-drilled forces of the 
Empire, actually and prospectively, so as to give colour to 
the belief that the Chinese military administration was rapidly 
approaching the European standard. Fired by enthusiasm 
for Japan's victories over a great European Power, Chinese 
patriots and officials spoke cheerfully of the enrolment of a 
standing army of two million men witJiin the next few years, 
and European publicists, fascinated by the vision of the 
awakening giant, took up the text and illuminated it with 
much fervour. "Putnam Weale,"^ writing in 1905, while 
admitting the absence of competent leaders and healthy 
finance, expressed belief in the " wholesale reorganisation and 
re-armament of the Chinese army," and foretold that in five 
years China would possess an effective peace-footing force of 
860,000 men, and by 1915 would be able to put a million and a 
half into the field. " In ten or fifteen years," he said, ''Japan's 
forces would be so outnumbered that she would not dare to 
attack her big neighbour." Four years before. Sir Robert 
Hart, anxious to make for China friends of the Mammon of 
political unrighteousness in the matter of the Boxer indemnity, 
had drawn an even more sensational picture of the awakened 
giant. " In fifty years' time," he declared, " there will be 
millions of Boxers in serried ranks and war's panoply at the 
call of the Chinese Government."" This picture appealed 
forcibly to the Wagnerian imagination of the Kaiser, who 
saw, in the coming invasion of Mongol hordes, a Heaven-sent 
opportunity for the War Lord to lead the embattled hosts 
of a European coalition, with Germany at its head. Small 
wonder if the man in the street became impressed with the 
reality of the Yellow Peril. ^ 

1 "The Reshaping of the Far East," vol. ii. Macmillan. 1905. 

2 "These from the Land of Sinim," Chapman and Hall. 1901. 

3 Since this was written "Putnam Weale " in the Daily Telegraph 
predicts new developments of the Yellow Peril : he sees, in the near future, 
China militant lodging "peremptory ultimatums" at the Foreign Offices of 
Portugal and Holland^ and Chinese squadrons, cleared for action, in the 



Since her war with Japan, and particularly since the con- 
clusion of the Russo-Japanese agreement which foreshadows 
the partition of China's northern territories, Russia has 
repeatedly professed increasing anxiety in regard to China's 
military preparations, and to the increasing numbers of 
Chinese colonists in Mongolia. Her apprehensions of the 
Chinese Peril are, no doubt, to some extent sincere ; the 
Ministry of War at St. Petersburg in the autumn of 1910 
recommended vetoing China's proposed construction of the 
Chinchow-Tsitsihar- Aigun Railway, as well as the alternative 
Kiachta-Urga scheme, on the ground that China would 
derive therefrom strategical advantages seriously menacing 
Russia's position. How far these fears were shared by the 
Council of Ministers it were hard to say ; but there has been 
ample evidence of a chronic condition of nervousness exist- 
ing amongst the Russian military authorities in Siberia and 
Manchuria, nervousness of the unreasoning kind which led to 
the Blagoveschenk massacre of helpless Chinese in 1900, and 
to the Dogger Bank panic in October, 1904 ; caused, no 
doubt, by the instinctive idea that what one Asiatic race had 
done another may do. On the other hand, it must be borne 
in mind that Russia's forward policy in Manchuria after 1900 
was persistently justified to the world by alleged fears of 
dangers from Hung-hu-tzus, and her present attitude in 
regard to Chinese loans points to a recrudescence of that 
policy, facilitated by her understanding with Japan. It is 
improbable that either country really believes in the possibility 
of Chinese aggression, and their concerted objections to the 
" Four Nations " loans may therefore safely be ascribed to a 
desire to prevent the creation of foreign interests in 
Manchuria, rather than to any genuine fear of Chinese 

Of Russia's foreign policy, ever influenced by the 

liarbours of their " Eastern dependencies." One wonders whether Admiral 
Sah will be in command of these squadrons, and to whom he will apply for 
rice, coal and ammunition. 



imaginative impulses and emotions of the personal equa- 
tion, it is difficult to speak with any degree of certainty, 
but of Japan it may safely be asserted that no real appre- 
hensions exist in that country with regard to China's alleged 
development of military strength. With eyes and ears 
wide open in every province, Japan's trained experts, 
military and commercial, can be under no delusions. In 
the long run, Japan, more than any other Power, stands to 
profit by China's internal dissensions and helplessness ; her 
policy in Manchuria has steadily reflected recognition of 
this obvious truth. At the same time, so long as mainten- 
ance of the integrity of China remains the ostensible purpose 
of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, and so long as Japanese 
finances remain in their present condition, it behoves her to 
walk warily before the world : Russia, therefore, is induced 
to take the lead in proclaiming the right of China's nearest 
neighbours to supervise her borrowing activities and to limit 
her armaments. 

Considering Russia's professed anxieties in the light of the 
actual situation at Peking and in the provinces, her diplo- 
macy assumes a somewhat elementary aspect. Let us 
consider briefly the significance of that situation. The 
newly-elected President of the Chinese Republic, himself a 
declared JMonarchist by conviction, has suffered the humilia- 
tion of seeing the capital looted by the very troops whose 
discipline and organisation have been continually cited as 
the best proof of China's military progress, the men whose 
unswerving loyalty to Yuan Shih-k'ai had been assumed by 
nearly every European writer. The looters having vanished 
with their plunder, some semblance of order was restored at 
Peking, not by the foreign-drilled troops of the Lu Chiin, 
but by the tribute-eating Manchu regiments whom the 
experts professed to despise. The spectacle of the President 
of the Republic suppressing the lawlessness of Chinese 
mutineers by the aid of Manchus and Bannermen is in 
itself sufficiently indicative of the chaotic condition of 



Chinese politics ; but an even more significant sight was 
seen when, on the occasion of Yuan's returning the British 
Minister's congratulatory visit, part of the route from his 
residence to the Legation was guarded (at his request) by- 
British troops, no Chinese being allowed to stand outside 
their houses. Yuan subsequently expressed his gratitude 
to the Foreign Ministers for their action in organising 
patrols of European troops to reassure the plundered and 
terror-stricken citizens. Significant, too, of the opinion in 
which foreign and Chinese troops respectively are held by 
the average mandarin, is the fact that the Legation quarter 
has become a common sanctuary and treasure-house for the 
highest officials, Manchus and Chinese alike, seeking the 
protection of the foreigner against the Yellow Peril of their 
own creation. In the same way, Hongkong and the 
foreign Settlements at Shanghai have become a safe place 
of refuge for thousands of Chinese who, when order is fully 
restored, will join once more in the patriot's agitation for the 
restoration of China's " sovereign rights " in the Settlements, 
and the abolition of extra-territoriality. 

It is difficult to form any concise opinion of the fighting 
qualities, organisation and moral of the Chinese Army from 
the accounts given, principally by journalists resident at 
Peking, of the fighting between Imperialists and Republicans 
since last October, partly because these accounts are usually 
of Chinese origin, and partly because of the observers' bias 
of foregone conclusions. Descriptions by eye-witnesses of 
the fighting at Nanking and Wuchang, published for the 
most part in the North China Daily News, are more illu- 
minating. But to get a comprehensive idea of the actual 
situation and to appreciate its bearing on the question of 
China's possible development of military efficiency, one must 
read the accounts, published week by week in that paper, 
from missionaries and other correspondents resident in the 
interior. These writers naturally present the scene from 
many different points of view% and their conclusions vary 



from sympathetic optimism to the deepest pessimism : 
but the general impression which tliey create is, that the 
Chinese Army of the present and immediate future consti- 
tutes a serious menace to China's own well-being, but little 
or none to her external foes. In the sense that China's 
weakness and disorder are a source of danger to the world, 
her undisciplined and loot-hungry mobs of soldiery constitute 
indeed a Yellow Peril and of late, with the disappearance of 
constituted authority and the loosening of the old ethical 
restraints, the army has realised its opportunities and its 

Of the fighting qualities of the rank and file, of their 
powers of endurance, bravery and occasional elan of 
enthusiasm, there is ample evidence ; but for proof of 
scientific organisation, of efficiency, cohesion, esprit de corps, 
and trained intelligence amongst their leaders, we seek in 
vain. Here and there, amidst the mass of cowardly, corrupt 
or incompetent officials, we find capable and brave men like 
Li Yuan-hung, the Revolutionary leader, and General Chang 
Hslln, the Imperialist Commander at Nanking. The latter 
appears, indeed, to be a fighting man of the stamp of Tso 
Tsung-t'ang ; yet even his martinet authority proved 
insufficient to prevent his troops from looting the city of 
Hslichoufu. But the number of energetic and efficient 
leaders has been insignificant, and their example has com- 
pletely failed to stem the tide of general demoralisation. 
Even at Nanking, where the loss of life on both sides was 
comparatively heavy, it was the rank and file who fought 
bravely, most of their officers displaying gross cowardice and 
incompetence. Repeated instances occur, in authentic 
reports from the provinces, of officers of the regular and 
militia forces using their positions for purely selfish ends, or 
lending themselves to the purposes of politicians and student 

^ The case of General Chang Chen-wu, beheaded by order of the President 
last August for plotting against the Republic, is instructive. He was in 

417 E E 


The military profession is no longer a thing of reproach in 
China ; to be a soldier, as times go, is to enjoy opportunities 
which appeal to every man with predatory lust or instincts 
of self-preservation. Tiierefore it is that everyone wears a 
uniform who can, and the number of irregular troops and 
police claiming arrears of salary is not likely to diminish, 
despite the advances of foreign capital made to secure their 
disbandment. It is not pleasant to contemplate the 
prospects that, mider these conditions, confront the defence- 
less traders and peasantry of the interior. With the 
disappearance of the Throne's traditional authority the pen- 
chant for loot has become endemic and its gratification a 
habit ; from all parts of the country last winter came the same 
tale of the systematic and business-like despoiling of 
peaceful citizens by licentious soldiery, and we shall hear 
it again. Peking, Tientsin, Paotingfu, Hangchow, 
Soochow, Canton, Ninghsiafu, Taianfu, and many other 
cities suffered, without resistance, all the pains and penalties 
of civil war. From Sianfu came one of the most astound- 
ing of all these pitiful tales of unrest. Telegraphing on 
JNlarch 22nd, Renter reported that the Kansuh Army 
(Loyalist Mahomedan troops, under General Sheng Yiin, 
professedly marching on Peking to restore the dynasty) had 
arrived at Sianfu, the capital of Shensi. The Chinese 
garrison of Republican troops, '* fearing that the 
Mahomedans would loot the city, began looting it them- 
selves ; whereupon the Mahomedans retired." Yet these are 
the forces whose pay is to be provided, for the salvation of 
China, by means of huge foreign loans ! And while these 
things were taking place all over the country, the National 
Assembly continued solemnly to proclaim the advantages of 
Republicanism, and Self-governing Societies in every 

command of the regular Hupei troops which mutinied and murdered the 
Viceroy Tuan Fang in Szechuan. After the Revolution he took to plotting 
on his own account, and one of the principal charges brought against him 
by Li Yuan-hung was that he had embezzled vast sums of money 
entrusted to him for payment of the troops. 



provincial capital discoursed of progress and prosperity. 
Despite its dominant note of grim tragedy, the situation 
was not devoid of humorous aspects. 

Considering the question of the Yellow Peril, however, as 
a matter ultimately dependent upon the military instincts of 
the Chinese people, it is interesting to observe that, in 
the opinion of experts, the balance of efficiency and courage 
rests so far with the Northern troops. Had it not been for the 
inefficiency and vacillation displayed by General Yin Chang, 
Admiral Sah, and by the high authorities at Peking ; had 
the Imperialist troops been allowed to follow up their first 
victories, it is fairly certain that the rebellion in the 
Yangtsze provinces would have been quickly stamped out ; 
but incompetent or disloyal leaders, truces, delays, and the 
ignominious withdrawal from Wuchang, led to discourage- 
ment and the rapid growth of indiscipline and lawlessness. 

A noteworthy feature of the fighting at Nanking was the 
superiority of the Shantung and Chihli men as compared 
with the Hunanese regiments of the Imperialist forces. 
JNlany competent critics in recent years have been led to the 
conclusion that the high military reputation of the Hunanese 
was founded rather on noisy professions than on any per- 
formance of valour. I remember discussing in 1902 the 
business of warfare with a Hunanese private of the garrison 
of Shanhaikuan, and his frank declaration that the profession 
of arms was well enough in times of peace, but that no 
sensible man would incur serious risks of being killed on a 
salary of fifteen shillings a month. An eye-witness of the 
fighting which took place during the investment of Nanking 
in November last tells a tale which shows that this worthy 
man's opinions were not an isolated instance of discretion, 
and that the average Hunanese has no desire to go to his 
grave for any fantasy or trick of fame. The batteries on 
Tiger Hill, manned by Hunanese Imperialists, had for some 
time been engaged in an artillery duel vnth the Republicans 
on Lion Hill, without apparent damage to either side. 

419 E E 2 


Inquiries into the cause of this futile expenditure of 
ammunition eUcited the following explanation, which may 
well be given in the correspondent's own words : — 

It appears that the Imperialist artillerymen on Lion Hill 
were also men from Hunan, and that after the capture of 
Tiger Hill by the Republicans a mutual agreement had been 
come to by the men in the two forts that neither party would 
materially damage the other. Accordingly, for some days 
the shells went wide, some short, into the hillsides away 
below the guns, and some high over the top of the crests. 
Then one day the Imperialist General, Chang Hslin, was 
watching the shooting in person from Lion Hill, and by the 
evidence of his own eyes grasped the fact that something was 
wrong. The range was a comparatively easy one of 3,800 
yards, and instead of nearly every shot being a hit, as it 
should have been at that distance, very few of them were 
going anywhere near the target at all. Without more ado, 
Chang Hsiin threatened to decapitate two of the eight-inch 
gun-layers there and then on the spot, and he promised that 
divers still worse penalties should follow for the remainder 
if the shooting didn't improve forthwith. 

So it came about that, in order to save their necks, the 
gunners on Lion Hill began to make things unpleasantly hot 
for their fellow-provincials on Tiger Hill, with the result 
that the latter, thinking that they had been grossly deceived 
by their friends the enemy, began in their turn to shoot as 
straight as they knew how. This state of affairs continued 
for the best part of a day, until the true reason for the 
apparent defection of Lion Hill was brought in by spies. 

Thereupon through the same agency a new scheme to 
prevent mutual injury was devised. It was simply that a 
defined interval, said by the men to be about a minute of 
time, should always be allowed to elapse between the firing 
of a gun and the answering shot from the other side. This 
would give ample time for the crew of the gun which had 
last fired to clear out of harm's way downstairs into the 
bomb-proof shelter below the concrete emplacement. 
Honour and General Chang Hslin would seemingly thus be 
satisfied, and all chance of unpleasantness, which neither 



party in the least desired, would thereby be avoided. Appa- 
rently the plan worked well, as after its adoptioi] no casualty 
occurred on either side. * 

On the other hand, the Chekiang regiments which took 
the leading part in the Republican assault and capture of 
Purple Mountain, showed a fine courage. Yet these same 
troops, upon their return to Hangchow at the end of March, 
mutinied and threatened to burn their General's yamen. 

Every day's experience of the Revolutionary movement 
has justified the conclusion that the Chinese, as a race, retain 
their instinctive aversion to fighting for fighting's sake, 
although, given good leaders and stern discipline, the 
inhabitants of certain regions (notably hill-men) are capable 
of making good troops. Every day's experience has shown 
also that many long years of educative processes must elapse 
before the nation can produce the leaders and the spirit of 
discipline to make the Chinese army the formidable host of 
the Yellow Peril prophets. A new spirit has been aroused, 
beyond all question, amongst the educated classes of China ; 
a spirit of vigorous, almost defiant, nationalism, which chafes 
under China's humiliations ; which seeks, through political 
and social reforms, to put from her the reproach of weak- 
ness ; but, in the absence of an organised, self-respecting and 
productive middle-class, there can be no immediate prospect 
of their attaining the height of their ambitions or the 
fulfilment of their dreams. Intellectual activity of no mean 
order is theirs, and many good qualities ; but the moving 
spirits of the present unrest have failed collectively to 
display the discipline, constructive ability and personal 
integrity requisite for efficient organisation of the body politic. 
In the present ferment of iconoclasm, and all its resultant 
lawlessness, lies the real Yellow Peril — for a weak and 
disorganised China means the danger of chronic unrest in 
the Far East. 

Another, and equally real. Yellow Peril lies in the pressure 



which these milUons of thrifty, patient toilers, inured to the 
sternest privations, threaten, sooner or later, to bring to bear 
upon the economic and industrial equilibrium of the Western 
world. Throughout their long history the Chinese have 
seldom been obsessed by dreams of expansion and conquest, 
but they have repeatedly denationalised and overcome their 
conquerors. Their ready adaptability to environment, 
untiring industry, skilled craftsmanship and unconquerable 
power of passive resistance have never been equalled by any 
race of men, unless it be the Hebrews. America and 
Australia have felt, and guarded themselves against, the 
menace of this pressure of seething humanity. Its effects, 
and the hopeless inferiority of white men against yellow in 
the grim economic struggle for life, may be seen to-day in 
the Straits Settlements, the Dutch Indies, and the islands of 
the South Seas, in the Treaty Ports of China, and the 
Russian railway towns of Manchuria. Where white man 
and yellow live and work side by side, the balance of 
economic power passes slowly but surely into the hands of 
the Asiatic. Within the memory of man, the wealth of 
the Straits Settlements and Hongkong has gravitated to 
the Chinese ; already, at Harbin and Tsitsihar, in Chinese 
territory, Russian railway porters are cheerfully carrying the 
baggage of first-class Chinese passengers. If there be any 
menace to Europe in Cathay, it lies in the fierce struggle for 
life of three hundred million men who are ready to labour 
unceasingly for wages on which most white men must 
inevitably starve. 


Army Manoeuvres, 1908. (Krupp Mountain Guns.) 



At the outset of a temperate and unbiassed review of the 
opium question,^ Mr. H. B. Morse, an American writer, 
comments on the thorny nature of this subject, confused as 
it is by a too general acceptance of certain postulates loudly 
proclaimed from high moral grounds. " The writer," he says, 
who tries to investigate the facts with no predisposition to 
either side is likely to find himself branded as a trimmer by 
the one party and a Laodicean by the other, with no oppor- 
tunity to defend himself." Mr. Morse, concerned only with 
the history and statistics of the trade, makes no attempt to 
elucidate the vital point of the opium controversy — its 
moral aspect. Nevertheless, his strictly impartial examina- 
tion of facts and figures, the work of a trained thinker, will 
repay study by anyone who wishes to see the question 
steadily and see it whole. Those whose views of the matter 
have been formed upon the dialectics of the Anti-Opium 
Society, or the arguments of religious enthusiasts, will learn, 
possibly with surprise, how far verifiable historical facts may 
become perverted in the cause of a religious crusade, how 
steadily error may persist and grow even when used for 
purposes of morality. They will learn, for example, to 
assess at its proper value the stock statement that British 

^ Fide chapter XI. of "^^The Trade and Administration of the Chinese 
Empire," by H. B. Morse (Statistical Secretary, Inspectorate General of 
Customs, China). 1908. 



merchants introduced opium into China and forced the 
impious trade upon her at the cannon's mouth." They 
will learn to appreciate the conditions existing in China 
before the prohibition of opium importation in 1800, when 
the Chinese Government first endeavoured to apply to 
foreign nations the restrictions which it had failed to impose 
on its own subjects. They will realise how it happens that 
earnest God-fearing men, fully alive to the evils which arise 
from the abuse of opium (and especially of contraband or 
illicit opium), have come to recognise that in the legalisation 
and regulation of the trade lies the only practical remedy 
for those abuses.^ They will learn that, at the beginning of 
the eighteenth century, as at the beginning of the nineteenth, 
the production of native grown opium greatly exceeded the 
foreign importation ; that, whereas the inland provinces have 
never been dependent upon Indian opium, cultivation of 
the poppy in Szechuan and Yunnan (dating back in its origins 
to the ninth century) has produced in recent years six or 
seven times the quantity imported from India. And learn- 
ing these facts, which, in their zeal, the opium crusaders 
generally overlook, the dispassionate observer may be led to 
push his investigations further and to inquire whether, in 
fact, the cause of true morality is well served by those who 
profess and believe themselves to be on the side of the 

I am aware that to offer any criticism of the aims and 
methods of the Anti- Opium Societies is to risk attack from 
an assumed vantage ground of high moral superiority ; that 
it is characteristic of a certain form of religious zeal to impute 
unrighteousness to those who may conscientiously differ from 
its views and disapprove of its proceedings. It is a risk that 
must, nevertheless, be faced by those who look for the ulti- 
mate triumph of truth over error, and by those who sincerely 
believe that the proceedings of the Anti-Opium Societies 

1 Fide correspondence between Mr. Reed, United States Minister to 
China^ and Lord Elgin. In the narrative of Lord Elgin's Mission, 1860. 



which have brought about the cessation of the Indian trade 
will eventually aggravate the evils of opium-smoking in 
China. In stating this side of the case, I w^ould ask the 
anti-opium reader to recognise the possibility of worthy 
motives in those who approach the opium question from the 
practical, instead of from the emotional, side. 


Dispassionately considering the history of the Anti-Opium 
agitation in England and America since the initiation of the 
total abolition movement by T'ang Shao-yi's regulations and 
the Empress Dow^ager's famous Edict of November, 1906, it 
is impossible to avoid the conclusion that many of the philan- 
thropists, missionaries and eminent divines who have taken 
the lead in this matter are afflicted in their field of morals 
by the same persistent delusion which commonly afflicts 
reformers in the field of political economics. They are all 
pervaded " (to quote once more from Spencer) " by the con- 
viction, now definitely expressed, and now taken as a self- 
evident truth, that there needs but this kind of instruction or 
that kind of discipline, this mode of repression or that system 
of culture, to bring society into a very much better state." 
Moreover, their schemes for the wholesale regeneration of 
China are evidently based on an implicit assumption that the 
inherent weaknesses and sins of humanity are curable by 
process of legislation and modes of repression. Despite all 
human experience on their own side of the world, many 
religious enthusiasts of the West profess and practise the 
belief that the moral nature and physical organisation of the 
Chinese race are capable of being radically changed by the 
ways and means w^hich they advocate for the abolition of the 
opium trade. Despite their unavoidable recognition of irre- 
movable beams in the European eye, they assume the feasi- 
bility of removing every mote from the eye Celestial. 
Practically denying the doctrine of original sin to one half 



of the world, they fail to adjust the existing moral values of 
the East to the hard, immutable facts of life. To be "on 
the side of the angels " in this matter it is necessary to 
surrender one s reason to the keepings of the Nonconformist 
conscience, to ignore human nature and the teachings of 
history, to set logic aside and accept the probability of 
miracles on an unprecedented scale. No thoughtful student 
of the question can avoid recognition of the fact that the 
attitude of the missionary body in China towards it is 
necessarily affected by a "bias of class," which in itself 
justifies critical examination of the whole subject. Mission- 
aries, being human, are liable to the pangs of amour-propre^ 
to a glowing pride of achievement; at times even to 
promptings of self-interest, more or less instinctive and 
unconscious. The opium evil and its eradication have 
always figured as a prominent plank in the China Missions' 
platform; it is therefore only natural that, in advocating 
measures which to laymen seem hopelessly unpractical and 
ill-advised, many missionary writers and speakers should be 
predisposed to ignore or misinterpret those facts which 
militate against their conclusions. This human weakness, 
frequent amongst religious enthusiasts, is one which reason- 
able men will not severely criticise. The anti-opium 
movement in England and America is only one of many 
manifestations of the nations' philanthropic and moral 
activities; amongst the Chinese, it constitutes an un- 
mistakably hopeful sign of a national conscience, awakening 
to recognition of national needs. But many a good cause 
has been ruined by the headlong enthusiasm of its advocates, 
many a campaign lost for lack of organised intelligence and 
serviceable maps. The manner in which the anti-opium 
campaign has been conducted by persons prominently 
associated with the leading English and American Societies 
suggests a state of mind for which the practical side of 
philanthropy has little or no weight as compared with its 
emotional possibilities; while the utterances of many 



missionary writers on the subject have been so tainted by 
appeals to odium theologicmn, so persistent in the dissemina- 
tion of palpable error, so indifferent to many important 
aspects of this great problem, that those who approach its 
solution in a spirit of sincere sympathy and rational inquiry 
cannot but feel grave misgivings as to the results of their 
proceedings. Moderata dnrant. It cannot profit China, or 
the world at large, if, after the evil spirit of Indian opium 
has been swept from the House Celestial, the state of that 
man" is made worse than before for want of common 
prudence and common sense. 


In bringing pressure on the British Government to 
consent to the abolition of the export of opium from India 
to China, two chief arguments have been invariably cited by 
the Anti-Opium Societies: firstly, that in maintaining this 
trade, England has inflicted a terrible wrong on the people 
of China; and secondly, that the complete abolition of 
opium cultivation by the Chinese was to be regarded as a 
measure capable of achievement and, to all intents and 
purposes, practically accomplished. As regards the first of 
these two arguments, the satisfaction of appealing to the 
British public's feelings of remorse appears to present attrac- 
tions more powerful than any belated admissions of historic 
fact. It is an argument based on untruths which have been 
repeatedly and completely exposed, but which continue, 
nevertheless, to figure prominently on every possible 
occasion; an argument to which, out of sheer weariness, the 
British Government and its Colonies in the East have 
bowed, and which political agitators in China have never 
ceased to employ for their own interested purposes. I do 
not propose to recapitulate the history of the so-called 
" opium war " and the manner in which the trade in the 
Indian product was legalised by the tariff attached to the 




Treaty of Tientsin (November, 1858); because the facts are 
easily available and beyond dispute. Equally beyond 
dispute, unfortunately, is the fact that the legend of " opium 
forced on China at the cannon's mouth " has passed by long 
usage into the region of venerable tradition. In the preface 
to a work published in September, 1912,^ for instance, the 
following passage occurs : 

" Seventy years ago a great Western Power forced on 
China an opium Treaty at the mouth of the cannon. 
Since then, not a dead hand, but a mailed fist, has been 
held up threateningly to prevent its being evaded. Her 
merchants have carried on the opium traffic and her war- 
ships have patrolled the Eastern seas to see that they are 
not defrauded of their rights. 

" The years dragged slowly on for China, and, during 
these, opium was slowly weaving its web over the land, and 
its black fingers were fastening themselves round the hearts 
of countless thousands, and homes were being desolated by a 
curse that the Government might never try to remove, for 
the iron fist was always on guard 

" And then the great miracle took place. The passion 
that had been burning in the hearts of the best men in the 
country blazed forth with a mighty fire. The conqueror 
was appealed to some five years ago or so, and slowly the 
mailed arm was dropped." 

With examples of this kind to guide them, it would be 
strange if the excessive emotionalism which characterises a 
large section of the Chinese student class were not to find 
expression of its own on a subject so congenial to patriotic 
ajnour-propre. I will cite only one specimen typical of the 
effusions which have flooded the missionary and secular 
Press in China since the final crescendo of the anti-opium 
agitation in 1909. It was published as a letter to the Editor 
of the Peking Daily News, in November, 1910 : 

^ Men and Manners of Modern China. By J. Macgowan. London : 
T. Fisher Unwin. 



" That Britain, taking advantage of China's helplessness, 
forced and continues to force, notwithstanding her bitter 
protests, British opium into China's domain, is an imperial 
crime that provokes the detestation of every right-minded 
man. It is a record of genteel piracy extending over two 
generations, for which high Heaven will not hold Britain 
guiltless, and which grimly looms, an uncanny spectre, 
forbidding any hearty reciprocity betw^een the two nations. 

" Britain realises not that her opium-lucre, wrenched 
from the remonstrant, but helpless, hands of Chma, is 
building against herself in the Avorld of retribution an in- 
visible Dreadnought, one broadside of w^hich could readily 

founder her ship of state 

If China, taking her stand on her imperial rights as a 
sovereign people, should refuse to admit British and all 
other opium to her ports from an early date of her own 
appointing, would Britain dare to incur the world's denun- 
ciation by a recourse to arms ? Or, if China should fix an 
early date for the prohibition of all imported opium, and 
submit her case to the Hague tribunal for adjudication, is 
there the shadow of a doubt what the decision of that 
august body w^ould be ? 

" The time is ripe for Christian England, by an act 
imperial in its righteousness as well as in its moral heroism, 
to close the impious chapter of her relations with China in 
the matter of the opium trade — a chapter than which there 
is no darker blot in Britain's long history." 

I have cited this particular effusion for the reason that it 
foreshadows clearly not only Young China's deliberate 
intention to violate the new Opium Agreement, then under 
negotiation with Great Britain, but also the attitude subse- 
quently adopted by the Chinese representatives at the 
Opium Conference at the Hague. Nine-tenths of these 
letters to the Press were written by Cantonese, every one of 
whom w^as aware that the Canton Opium Guild was at that 
time already organising a Provincial Opium Monopoly 
under conditions which clearly anticipated the continuance 
of opium growing and opium smoking. 



A less picturesque statement, and one which undoubtedly 
carried a most powerful appeal to the Anglo-Saxon's 
inherent love of justice, is that to which the late Dr. 
Griffith John gave expression when he said, " We have 
inflicted a terrible wrong on the people of China, and it is 
our solemn duty to try to undo it by abandoning the trade 
at once and for ever, ourselves, and by giving them every 
sympathy and aid in our power in their attempt to banish 
the curse from within their own borders." Dr. John's name 
was during many years a household word in China, where 
no man has ever doubted his sincerity of purpose and 
disinterested devotion to the welfare of the Chinese people ; 
nevertheless, his statement of the case errs in the distinct 
implication that England's insistence on the right to trade 
in opium (and other goods) at Canton in 1838 was the 
original cause of the opium traffic in China, whereas, as we 
know, opium was no more a burning question with the 
Chinese in Lord Napier's day than it had been before ; and 
the question which was solved " at the cannon's mouth " 
by the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, was the right of foreign 
envoys to treat directly with the Chinese Government. 
Dr. John's statement contains, moreover, the germ of a 
fallacy which has figured prominently in all the Anti- Opium 
Societies' propaganda before the Hague Conference and 
since ; namely, that the opium legislation inaugurated by 
the Chinese Government under the Edict of 1906 con- 
stitutes an entirely new and particularly hopeful feature of 
the situation. It implies the existence of good grounds for 
believing (to use the words officially recorded by the Inter- 
national Opium Conference held at Shanghai in 1909) " in 
the unswerving sincerity of the Chinese Government," 
whereas the whole history of the opium question, since 
the date of the Treaty of Nanking, effectively precludes 
any rational optimism in that direction. Observers familiar 
with the history of the movement recognised in the first year's 
working of the new Edict a strong and increasing impulse 



of public opinion, especially amongst the educated classes, 
in favour of the suppression of the opium habit, a move- 
ment which was energetically supported by many individual 
officials at Peking and in the provinces ; at the same time it 
was clearly foreseen by those whose critical faculties were 
not obscured by their enthusiasms, that the Chinese 
Government, as a whole, was never in itself a regenerating 
moral force and that, by every precedent, there was good 
reason to apprehend the possibility of its diverting the 
popular anti-opium movement and the sympathies of foreign 
Governments to its own ultimate benefit, by the creation of 
a monopoly in native opium coincident with the abolition 
of the Indian trade. Already, in the beginning of 1908, 
the attitude and unguarded utterances of some of China's 
highest officials {e.g., Prince Ch'ing and Chang Chih-tung) 
foreshadowed this end. 

No good purpose would be served by advancing arguments, 
either on grounds of economic expediency or moral justifica- 
tion, for the maintenance by the Government of India of the 
cultivation of opium intended for the Chinese market, 
especially since the British Government's decision to termin- 
ate that trade has placed such arguments on the plane of 
futile academics. The consensus of public opinion in Great 
Britain has been unmistakably expressed in the sense that 
any further share in a trade which has been persistently 
criticised on high grounds of morahty is undesirable ; the 
game, in fact, is not worth the scandal. Even if this con- 
clusion has generally been based on premises which many 
unbiassed critics consider untenable, it is a conclusion which 
the public sense of morality and expediency has approved. 
So be it : but the Chinese opium question did not begin with 
the Indian trade and will not end with it. The arguments 
which carried most weight with the British Government and 
which led to the conclusion of the Opium Abolition Agree- 
ments of 1907 and 1911, were those which apparently 
justified belief in the sincerity of the Chinese Government 



in taking effective steps for the abolition of poppy-growing 
in China. Confronted with good evidence of that sincerity 
and pressed to accept it by the whole weight of missionary 
opinion in China, the British Government, whatever its 
mental reservations, could not refuse its co-operation in a 
measure of reform which appealed so powerfully to the 
imagination and to the vicarious benevolence of the civilised 
world. But as for the benefits which this reform was to 
confer upon the Chinese race, it was clear that the abolition 
of the Indian trade was in reality a matter of secondary 
importance. Everything depended, firstly, upon the sincerity 
of the Chinese Government's intentions, and secondly, 
upon the practicability of the proposed abolition programme. 


Let US consider first the question of Old and Young 
China's sincerity in this matter. In the year 1839 the 
Chinese Government (at that time quite indifferent to the 
widespread native cultivation of the poppy) desired the 
cessation of the Indian importations not only on moral 
grounds — obviously insincere — but upon the justifiable 
economic ground that the Indian shipments involved heavy 
remittances of silver, and created an adverse balance of trade. 
At that time, the foreign opium trade was contraband, but 
despite prohibitory Edicts and moral professions, it was 
openly encouraged by the mandarins. As Mr. Morse 
observes, " The Emperor might prohibit the trade but the 
Emperor's representatives continued to sanction it." 

After the Treaty of Nanking had been signed (1842), Sir 
H. Pottinger proposed to say a few words to the assembled 
company upon one of the causes of the disturbances that led 
to the war, viz., the trade in opium. Upon hearing this the 
Chinese unanimously declined to enter upon the subject until 
they were assured that he had introduced it merely as a 
topic for private conversation. " They then evinced much 


Photo, Ca/iu'?-n Crnft Co. 

One of the Looters. 


interest and eagerly requested to know why we should not 
act fairly towards them by prohibiting the growth of the 
poppy in our dominions, and thus effectively stop a traffic so 
pernicious to the human race." " This," he replied, in con- 
sistency with our constitutional law, could not be done ; 
and," he added, " even if England chose to exercise so 
arbitrary a power over the tillers of her soil, it would not 
check the evil, but it w^ould merely throw the market into 
other hands." He then went on to show that if the Chinese 
stopped smoking, the production of the article would cease, 
but if they would not do this, they would procure the drug 
in spite of every enactment. " Would it not therefore be 
better," he said, " to legalise its importation, and by thus 
securing the co-operation of the rich and of your authorities, 
thereby greatly limit the facilities which now exist for 
smuggling ? " They owned the plausibility of the argument, 
but expressed themselves persuaded that their Imperial 
master would never listen to a word on the subject.^ 

In the early seventies, the idea of securing the abolition of 
the Indian trade, with a view to the establishment of an 
effective Chinese monopoly for traffic in the native drug, had 
already found many supporters in Peking and the provinces. 
Writing in 1875, Johannes von Gumpach said : 

" It is certain that the Tsungli Yamen has for some years 
been so strongly urging the ' immorality ' of the opium trade 
upon the consideration of England and the religious 
sentimentality of the Gladstone administration, solely in the 
hope of China being paid in silver for the excess of her 
exports, and in precisely the same proportion in which it 
may be found practicable to diminish the importation of the 
foreign-grown drug. But I should hold it to be a fatal 
error on the part of the British Government were it to 
entertain the hypocritical appeal of the Tsungli Yamen to 
England's moral sense and generosity." ^ 

^ Vide Closmg Events of the Campaign in China, by Captain Loch. 

2 The Treaty Rights of the Foreign Merchant in China. Shanghai. 1875. 

433 F F 


And again, 

If the British Government were to listen to the 
Tsungli Yamen's insidious arguments — supported though 
they be by ill-directed missionary zeal — and, apparently 
yielding to the Yamen's intimidations, to consent to the 
prohibition of poppy culture in India, it would .... after 
all, uselessly sacrifice the legitimate interests of British 
commerce and Indian industry, and to what end ? To the 
end that the Government of China might, under the shield- 
ing mask of its * impotence,' encourage the cultivation of the 
poppy at home ; stealthily and gradually add to its salt 
monopoly that of the manufacture and sale of opium, impose 
upon the people a deleterious drug, while excluding from 
the country a superior preparation .... On the other 
hand, the Tsungli Yamen's threat, recently suggested in the 
shape of a * temporary measure,' to withdraw the prohibition 
on the home growth of the poppy, need not alarm the Indian 
farmer. The effect would simply be a demand for the purer 
and better article, increasing with the increasing free 
production and use of the * deadly poison ' in China." 

The idea of a Government monopoly to handle the native 
drug, relieved of all competition from the imported article, 
has undoubtedly existed at the back of the official " anti- 
opium movement" from the very earliest days. The 
philanthropic activities of China's sincere patriots and 
moralists have waxed and waned and waxed again, but the 
mandarin ideal has been steadily maintained, and to-day 
emerges with every prospect of successful accomplishment, 
as the result of Young China's appeal to the ■ ' moral sense " 
of Great Britain. Let us not, however, criticise too severely 
the mandarin. It is not only in China that politicians direct 
to their own purposes the altruistic and benevolent impulses 
of a moral elite, professing principles and panaceas incompati- 
ble with their real intentions and proceedings. In this 
question of the Chinese opium traffic, the pressure brought 
to bear upon the British Government " for the moral glory 
of our nation " has denounced the Indian mote with great 



vigour whilst remaining strangely blind to the British beam, 
to the fact that British manufactured morphine was being 
exported in steadily increasing quantities, to take the place 
of opium smoking. Mr. Johnstone, and other prominent 
supporters of the Anti-Opium Societies in the House of 
Commons, have taken their stand on the grounds proclaimed 
by the Bishop of Durham at the World Missionary Confer- 
ence held in Edinburgh in June, 1909, accepting the moral 
appeal of China's " unswerving sincerity " as an argument of 
irresistible weight and declaring that the cessation of the 
Indian trade must be regarded as a question of righteousness, 
not of money " : at the same time, they have failed to 
recognise the importance (and the high morality) of that 
aspect of the question which was raised by the Anti- Opium 
Society of Singapore, when it advised " that the financial 
difficulties created by the cessation of the opium revenue, 
should be met by the British Imperial and Indian Governments 
in a way that shall not increase the taxation of the mass of the 
people in India." The moral glory is ours : but the price to 
be paid for our national righteousness is left to the Empire's 
humble dependants. 


When T'ang Shao-yi drafted his drastic opium abolition 
Regulations of 1906, many observers saw therein evidence of 
new and sincere intentions on the part of the " Young China " 
element at Peking, to put a stop to the opium traffic by 
the complete abolition of poppy culture throughout the 
Empire. It was a stupendous reform to attempt, but there 
undoubtedly existed a strong body of public opinion in its 
favour, because it appealed to the economic, as well as to the 
moral, instincts of the educated classes. Given sincerity of 
purpose and sustained energy on the part of the Central 
Government, it seemed to many Europeans that the gradual 
cessation of opium smoking according to the ten years 

435 F F 2 


programme prescribed by these Regulations was within 
the bounds of possibihty. 21ie Times correspondent at 
Peking described the Regulations as *'the most masterly 
State document issued in China for many years, leaving no 
loophole for evasion." The sympathetic interest aroused in 
England and the United States, reflecting the humanitarian 
tendencies of the Western world, was unmistakable. At 
the same time, it was recognised that everything must 
ultimately depend upon the sincerity of the Chinese Govern- 
ment and the moral stability of Young China; there were 
many, therefore, whose judgment was suspended, pending 
further evidence as to the Government's willingness and 
ability to suppress opium cultivation at the chief producing 
centres. Here again, the first results attained, under the 
energetic inspiration of T'ang Shao-yi and his followers, 
surpassed all previous experience of reform in China and the 
most sanguine expectations. By the terms of the Anglo- 
Chinese Opium Convention of 1907, Great Britain had 
agreed to the gradual abolition of the Indian trade, 'pari 
passu with the abolition of poppy-growing in China; but the 
first three years of the ten years' programme were to be 
regarded as experimental, and a test of the Chinese Govern- 
ment's good faith and effective authority in the matter. 
The results of the experimental period have been embodied 
in British Consular Reports and other documents submitted 
to Parliament. They varied greatly all over the country, 
according to the amount of energy and honesty displayed by 
the local officials, but, on the whole, they were distinctly 
encouraging, the total reduction in cultivation effected at 
the end of 1910 being estimated on the evidence of reliable 
witnesses at about twenty-five per cent. Once more it had 
been demonstrated — as in the case of the educated classes 
and the abolition of the old system of examinations — that 
the Chinese people submits readily to the control of consti- 
tuted authority, firmly administered and morally justifiable. 
There was every reason to hope that, by steady pressure of 



public opinion and sustained effort, the other seventy-five 
per cent, might be suppressed within the next seven years, 
and this without violent disorganisation of the economic 
situation in China and India. 

It was at this juncture that Young China, flushed with the 
undeniable success of its first political activities, proceeded 
to display the indiscipline and insincerity which have since 
distinguished the majority of its leaders. The British 
Agreement of 1907 had been recognised by all fair-minded 
Chinese as conceding everything that the Chinese Govern- 
ment had proposed, and providing a perfectly clear course 
towards the desired end. In 1910, however, stimulated by 
the misguided zeal of fanatical enthusiasts. Young China pro- 
ceeded to organise a violent agitation for the immediate 
suppression of the Indian trade. The question was taken up, 
and most intemperately discussed, by the National and 
Provincial Assemblies ; swiftly it degenerated from the 
plane of philanthropic effort to that of political polemics, and 
its descent synchronised with ominous signs of a revival of 
the mandarin's monopolistic policy. There had not been lack- 
ing observers of the pessimistic school who had foreseen 
these results, who predicted that, if the Indian trade were 
abohshed while the poppy were still grown in Chma, the 
anti-opium movement would be productive of evil rather 
than of good, inasmuch as it must lead " to the establish- 
ment of a monopoly in the hands of a class which, in all our 
national experience, has been wont to put money before 
righteousness and expediency before good faith." ^ 

On November 13th, 1910, a meeting of the People's Anti- 
Opium Society, held at Peking, decided to address a special 
appeal to the kindred societies of Great Britain and America, 
so as to enable China to prohibit forthwith any further 
importations of the Indian drug. The appeal was enthu- 
siastically supported by the missionary and Anti-Opium 
Societies of Great Britain ; it laid particular stress on the 

1 Vide The Times, December 22, 1910. 


results achieved in the reduction of poppy-growing in China 
as proving the Government's unswerving sincerity, and 
declared that nothing now stood in the path of complete 
achievement but Great Britain's refusal " to leave China free 
to rid herself of this evil thing." The religious and moral 
aspects of the question were emphasised to the complete 
exclusion of common sense and common justice, but the 
pressure brought to bear was sufficient to induce the British 
Government to negotiate a new Convention at Peking " in 
recognition of China's magnificent effort to perform her 
share of the task." This agreement was concluded on May 
8th, 1911 ; it provided for a heavy increase in the duty on 
Indian opium, consented to the total cessation of exports 
from India, so soon as clear proof should be forthcoming 
that the native drug had ceased to be produced in China, and 
agreed to the immediate exclusion of Indian opium from 
any province that could prove that the native drug was 
neither grown nor sold within its borders. In other words, 
the abolition of the Indian trade was made immediately 
dependent upon the sincerity of the Chinese authorities and 
their capacity to deal with the domestic production. The 
Peking Government expressed itself completely satisfied ; 
not so Young China, which continued to agitate for the 
immediate and unconditional cessation of the Indian trade, 
and this despite the fact that ominous reports of increased 
production were beginning to come in from Kansiih, that 
the Customs returns indicated increased movements of the 
native drug in Hupeh, and that the Canton Guild had 
renewed its efforts, illegal under the Treaties, to establish a 
provincial opium monopoly. The Peking Government 
itself, in an unguarded moment, suggested grave doubts as 
to the future, by offering to pledge the opium lekin in Hupeh 
and Szechuan as collateral security for a loan intended to run 
for forty years, and it was notorious that, despite the Edict, 
many confirmed opium smokers (including the President of 
the Waiwupu) remained in office. Finally, the question of 



morphia consumption, untouched by the Anti-Opium Society's 
appeal, had begun to assume a very ominous aspect, the 
seriousness of which was not diminished by the fact that 
several high officials at Peking were known to be connected 
with the trade in morphia pills. The following statement 
concerning this nefarious trade (strictly prohibited by Article 
VI of T'ang Shao-yi's " unloopholed " Regulations) is taken 
from the World's Chinese Students Journal of January, 1909 : 

" Since the Imperial Decree regarding the suppression of 
opium in China came out on September 20th, 1906, the 
Chinese market has been practically flooded with all sorts of 
anti-opium remedies. According to the statement of one of 
the Opium Commissioners there are no less than fifty-three 
kinds of pills now on the market, put up by all sorts of quacks 
who probably regard this time as an opportune moment 
to make large fortunes through the sale of their so-called 
anti-opium pills. Unfortunately these anti-opium pills are 
not what they are represented to be and in most instances 
they are found to contain either opium or morphia. The 
purpose of concocting this prohibitive ingredient is of course 
very clear. By cajoling the Government and the people 
they hope to reap large fortunes by exciting the appetite for 
these pills, which is only a different form of opium 

" This illicit practice is not only confined to irresponsible 
persons, but seems to have infected government official 
doctors of high standing. It is reported that in a recent 
investigation two government physicians ^ have been found 
to put up anti-opium pills of this nature for sale. Such a 
reprehensible act should be meted with condign punishment, 
as it does not only encourage a worse kind of opium habit, 
but is an open violation of the Imperial decree." 


What would have been the ultimate results of the anti- 
opium movement had the Manchus remained in power, is an 

^ These two physicians were Cantonese, educated abroad, one of them 
being an intimate associate and connection by marriage of T'ang Shao-yi. 



open question ; credit must be given them, at all events, for 
good intentions and effective measures within the limits of 
their authority. In the general disorder which naturally- 
ensued upon the outbreak of the Revolution, it was in- 
evitable that the process of reducing the area under poppy 
cultivation should be temporarily arrested. So much may 
be granted ; but had the people at large been convinced of 
the sincerity of Young China, in the same way as they had 
been in the case of the Manchu Government, it is safe to 
say that there could not have occurred so widesprear^ a 
recrudescence of opium-growing and opium-smoking. The 
great improvement that had been recorded in 1909-1910 
could not have been effected if the popular movement had 
not been reinforced by constituted authority. The move- 
ment itself appealed not only to the instinctive morality of 
the masses, but to their perception of the economic relief 
which opium abolition would confer; many farmers were 
thus led, by pressure of public opinion, to abandon poppy- 
growing, in the belief that the reform was to be universally 
enforced and that no one province would be allowed to 
benefit by exemption. In one of the Reports forwarded for 
the information of Parliament by Sir Alexander Hosie,^ the 
passive acceptance of serious losses by the farmers of the 
province of Shensi is attributed to three causes : 

1. Belief in the sincerity of the Government's intentions. 
This took some time to establish, but in 1910 it was wide- 

2. Local influence of the literati and gentry, exercised in 
support of the Government's programme. 

3. Popular recognition of the social and economic evils 
arising from the opium habit. 

How powerful is the instinct of conformity to mass pressure 
in China, how deep-rooted the respect for moral authority, 
was proved by the results of the opium abohtion measures 
in the furthest districts of Yiinnan and Szechuan. The 

1 Vide Blue Book, No. 1 of 1911, p. 11. 


Consular Reports from these regions are extremely in- 
teresting and instructive. 

The Republican leaders — Young China— had taken to 
themselves all the credit for the success of the anti-opium 
movement. The Press had assumed a tone of highly moral 
superiority, on the strength of the actual results attained, 
and had based thereon claims to exceptional consideration at 
the hands of an admiring world. This attitude was strikingly 
demonstrated by the Cantonese delegates who represented 
China at the International Opium Conference at the Hague 
in December, 1911,^ but their dignity of unctuous rectitude 
was marred by the fact that by this time the gravest doubts 
had arisen not only as to the capacity of the Republican 
leaders but as to their sincerity and honesty. Sun Yat-sen, 
Li Yuan-hung and others whose names had long been 
identified in missionary circles with earnest professions of 
devotion to the good cause, were profuse with promises of 
drastic measures and splendid results ; they continued to urge 
the immediate removal of the only stumbling-block in the 
path of reform, viz., the Indian trade, whose abolition the 
British Government have made dependent solely upon 
China's energy and good faith — but they remained curiously 
indifferent to the fact that several provinces were openly 
resuming the wholesale cultivation of opium. The attitude 
of the Republican leaders was, in fact, instinct throughout 
with super-mandarin duplicity, and tainted by sordid 
motives of financial expediency. Had their demands for 
the complete cessation of the Indian trade been accompanied 
by any effective measures for the abolition of cultivation in 

^ The highly moral and patronising attitude adopted at the Hague by 
the Chinese delegates, and echoed by the representatives of the English 
Anti-Opium Society, evoked some plain speaking at the time. It was 
based (despite all evidence to the contrary) upon the same assumption 
as that put forward in the Chinese students' circular appeal to the British 
nation (November, 1910), namely, that even in the worst opium-growing 
provinces the cultivation of the poppy has almost entirely ceased." In 
November, 1910, on the strength of a 25 per cent, reduction, this attitude 
might have been condoned : at the end of 1911 it was inexcusable. 



China, they might have escaped the heavier charges of 
flagrant insincerity of purpose. But it soon became 
apparent that the principal motive underlying the agitation 
against the Indian trade lay in the desire of the new regime 
to establish lucrative official monopolies in handling the 
native drug. The leaders of the Republic and the Press 
continued to proclaim good intentions and to frame appeals 
to the moral sense of England and America ; they calmly 
confessed to a temporary inability to prevent the cultivation 
of opium in certain provinces, but assured the world at large 
that this unfortunate lapse was of no real significance. The 
Indian trade was to blame — abolish that without asking for 
further proofs of sincerity, and all would be well. The 
National Assembly, realising that the earnest non-political 
minority of the Anti-Opium Societies and their missionary 
supporters were becoming seriously perturbed, introduced a 
Bill in May which provides for the total suppression of the 
traffic by the end of 1 912. Under this Bill all the anti-opium 
Bureaus are required to despatch delegates to different places 
to investigate and to report any clandestine " cultivation. 
Pending absolute prohibition, every opium smoker must take 
out a monthly licence to smoke in the provincial anti-opium 
Bureaus, etc., etc. The Bill is clearly a face-making " 
measure, pure and simple, as useless for practical purposes as 
any moral essay of the Monarchical Edicts, and the 
politicians who have passed it are well aware that in those 
very provinces where Young China had been most active 
before the Revolution, the latest agreement with Great 
Britain is being openly violated, not on moral grounds, but 
for the pecuniary benefit of Republican officials. 


Dr. Sun Yat-sen, Vice-President Li Yuan-hung and other 
leading Republicans in whom the Anti- Opium Societies place 
their trust, were fully aware of this most damning fact. 



They were aware that the provincial authorities of Yunnan 
had founded a company for the cultivation of opium, not 
only to supply the local demand but to export the drug to 
Tongking : that the Chekiang provincial authorities, whilst 
illegally prohibiting Indian opium from entering the province, 
wxre openly permitting poppy cultivation, and had cheerfully 
witnessed the gathering of a splendid harvest grown even 
within the limits of the Prefectural city.^ They were aware 
that, in the two provinces, Shansi and Szechuan, /ro/;^ which 
Indian opium had been legally excliided under the British 
Treaty of May, 1911 (because of their ''clean slate'') cultiva- 
tion had been resumed, with the full knowledge and consent of 
the Republican authorities, the district of Chengtu boasting a 
" bumper crop." They w^ere aware that in several provinces 
the regulations for control of opium-smokers were being 
enforced, not for the suppression of smoking, but for the 
benefit of the authorities ; that in Hunan, cultivation had 
been openly re-instituted with the connivance, if not the 
protection, of the Provincial Assembly. They were aware 
that the output of opium in the seven great producing 
provinces would be larger in 1912 than in any year since 
1907, and that in several provinces arrangements were being 
made to create official monopolies which would forbid all 
entries of foreign opium. ^ All these things they knew ; but 
the high moral principles which had stood Young China in 

^ Vide Shanghai correspondent of The Times, April 15 and May 11, 
1912. The Military Governor of Chekiang confessed to the British Consuls 
that he was afraid to interfere with the farmers. He was not afraid to 
seize the property of British merchants. 

2 A proclamation to this effect, establisliing a monopoly from the 1st of 
July, was issued by the Military Governor at Kiukiang. One of the first 
results of these provincial monopolies must be greatly to stimulate the 
tendency towards local autonomy. The Central Government's revenues 
from import duty on Indian opium are eliminated on the one hand, whilst 
the provincial authorities levy excise and inter-state trade duties on the 
native drug. The British Government's tacit acquiescence in the anti- 
opium movement, based on high moral grounds, is therefore likely to stultify 
its benevolent policy of strengthening the authority of the Central 



such good stead had now ceased to be concerned with any 
aspect of the opium question other than that of the Indian 
imports. In the beginning of JNIay, Dr. Sun Yat-sen and 
General Li Yuan-hung defined their position in the matter 
by pubhc manifestoes. Dr. Sun's took the usual form of an 
appeal to the British nation in which, completely ignoring 
the deplorable condition of affairs encouraged by the 
Republican authorities, he observes : 

" With an opportimity to sell at high prices the temptation 
to plant is very strong, and in such a large country and under 
present conditions it is almost impossible to stop it while 
permitting the sale of opium. We must make its sale and 
traffic illegal, and we can then stop its cultivation. At 
present we are hindered in this because of a treaty with your 
country. Remembering with grateful appreciation what you 
have done for me and for my country in the past, I appeal to 
you for further help to stop this sinful traffic now at the 
beginning of our new national life. We ask you in the name 
of humanity and in the name of righteousness to grant us 
the right to prohibit within our own land the sale of this 
fearful poison, both the foreign and the native drug. We 
believe with the sale made illegal we can soon put an end to 
the cultivation. I make this appeal to you, the British 
people, on behalf of my fellow-countrymen." 

Dr. Sun's latest appeal to the British people synchronised 
with a despatch by his Majesty's Minister at Peking, in 
which it was admitted that the Legation's efforts to rectify 
the Chekiang position had been in vain and that the 
Chinese Government was unable or unwilling to do any- 
thing in the matter. The predictions of the " pessimists " 
were, indeed, fulfilled. The mandarins of the new dis- 
pensation had maintained the traditions of the old, covering 
their flagrant bad faith under " the shielding mask of their 
impotence."^ Dr. Sun Yat-sen, professed Christian and 

^ Fide supra, p. 434. 


eloquent advocate of reform, enjoys abroad a wider reputa- 
tation for sincerity and personal integrity than any other 
leader of Young China. It is possible to believe that, by 
virtue of an incurable optimism, he may have been able to 
persuade himself of his countrymen's good faith and the 
ultimate suppression of opium cultivation, for his is the 
generous, impulsive type of morality which avoids the chill 
breath of facts. It is possible : but the tree must be judged 
by its fruits, and it is difficult to reconcile Dr. Sun Yat- 
sen's public utterances on the subject of opium with his 
apparent indifference to Young China's deliberate repudia- 
tion of its professions and pledges. " Unswerving sincerity " 
requires that he and his fellow-reformers should place effec- 
tive measures for the abolition of opium cultivation before 
their lucrativ^e schemes for " covering China with a network 
of railways built with foreign capital " or the organisation of 
ocean steamship companies. Yet Dr. Sun Yat-sen an- 
nounces (in September) his intention of travelling abroad on 
this financial business, leaving the " sinful traffic " to work 
out its own salvation. The reticence displayed by the 
Anti-Opium Societies in regard to this unpleasant aspect of 
the question suggests possibilities of disillusion where 
optimism is almost a vocational necessity. From this point 
of view, it is matter for congratulation that the religious 
enthusiasts and professional agitators who have continually 
ascribed to England the bondage of the Chinese to this 
fearful curse " should henceforth be compelled to face the 
truth of the matter. It is well, if only on political grounds, 
that the Indian Government should cease to derive revenue 
from a traffic demoralising to the Chinese race. But the 
moral, financial, economic and political penalties which 
China must incur, as immediate results of the "opium- 
abolition " movement, are likely to prove many and 




The agitation organised against the Indian opium trade 
by well-meaning but short-sighted missionary bodies con- 
cerned itself frankly with moral glory and righteousness, to 
the exclusion of all other considerations. Its immediate 
purpose has been attained, for whatever China may or may 
not do, the Indian trade may now be regarded as in process 
of liquidation. But the effects of China's contemptuous 
disregard of her Treaty obligations cannot fail to react 
Avith serious injury upon trade in general and to the ulti- 
mate detriment of the Chinese people. Every province had 
it within its power legally and honourably to exclude the 
Indian drug by stopping opium cultivation within its 
borders ; the mandarin preferred to connive at cultivation 
and illegally to prohibit the importation of Indian opium. 
The agreements of 1907 and 1911 have been set at naught, 
and in consequence, the Indian merchants' stocks at 
Shanghai, valued in June at about £6,000,000, are immov- 
able. But the opium trade, like all others, is conducted 
upon banking credits. The foreign banks at Shanghai are 
interested in these stocks to the amount of over £4,000,000, 
not to mention the sums advanced by Chinese banks. The 
Indian merchants were perfectly justified in continuing the 
shipments legalised by the agreement of May, 1910 ; the 
Chinese Government has violated that agreement and if it 
be permitted to persist in so doing, the banks must be 
involved in difficulties disastrous to the whole trade of China 
On June 15th, eleven banks, representing eight nationalities 
drew the attention of the Consular Body at Shanghai to the 
critical nature of the situation : 

" For many years past," they wrote, " it has been the 
custom of the different banks to finance shipments of opium 
from India to this port, and in the ordinary course of 
business to make advances on the same when it has been 



stored here waiting sale. In making such advances they 
have provided for the ordinary market risks, but have 
depended on the Chinese Government fulfilhng its obHga- 
tions in the matter of International Treaties and Agree- 
ments. Since February last the Chekiang authorities have 
prohibited the importation of and trade in Indian opium, in 
absolute contravention of existing treaties, causing ac- 
cumulation of stocks ^ in Shanghai, and heavy depreciation in 
the value of same. While prohibiting the trade in Indian 
opium, it is a matter of common knowledge that the Chekiang 
authorities have allowed the cultivation of the native drug 
in that province to continue unabated, and that it is sold 

freely in Shanghai We respectfully beg to ask the 

Consular Body to transmit this protest to their respective 
Ministers at Peking, and request them to protect our 
interests, either by insisting on the Government enforcing 
the adherence of Chekiang Province to existing Treaties and 
Agreements or by obtaining a promise from them to make 
^ood any losses we may sustain." 

On the 28th of June Messrs. E. D. Sassoon and Co. raised 
another important point : 

The Central Government," they said, is stated to be 
unable or unwilling to control the Provincial Governments. 
If it is able but unwilling to do so, we trust that pressure 
may be brought to bear to insist upon Treaty obligations 
being carried out. If, however, it is willing but unable to 
impose its will upon the provincial authorities, it is difficult 
to understand how it will be able to control the expenditure 
of the money now being loaned when that money goes into 
the provinces." 

^ It is significant of the intemperate and disingenuous spirit which 
distinguishes a certain section of the Anti-Opium Societies, that Mr. 
Alexander, writing on this subject (on the 21st of May) should thus 
express himself : " In view of the present deadlock, due to the desire of 
Young China to liberate herself frorn the vice of smoking, it is unfortunate 
that the short-sighted policy of the merchants has landed them to-day 
in the unenviable position of having a heavy stock, and being unable to 
move it off." The cause of righteousness is here frankly in sympathy 
with injustice and flagrant bad faith. 



The validity of this argument and its significance to the 
investor in Chinese Bonds are undeniable. For if the Central 
Government is unable to control the provinces in the 
matter of the opium trade, where it is bound by the most 
formal Treaty obligations, by what process of reasoning can 
the provincial salt gabelle be regarded as satisfactory security 
for new loans ? Yet the financiers interested in these loans 
have publicly declared that security to be sufficient for the 
protection of investors, whilst China's foreign " advisers " 
deprecate any form of supervision or control, which would 
imply that " China is not mistress in her own house." 

As the result of the manner in which the Anti-Opium 
Societies have conducted their campaign, the importance of 
the Indian trade in relation to the whole problem of opium- 
smoking in China has been greatly exaggerated. That trade 
will now disappear. India will grow less opium and more 
food ; China will probably grow less food and more opium, 
and since the Chinese are the only large consumers of opium 
the results must prove economically disastrous to China. 


Setting aside those aspects of the problem which directly 
concern India and the British Government, let us now 
examine the moral and the practical bases of the anti-opium 
movement. The missionary attitude in this matter may 
fairly be stated in the words of the late Rev. Dr. Griffith 
John ; 

" Opium is not only robbing the Chinese of millions of 
money, year by year, but it is actually destroying them as a 
people. It undermines the constitution, ruins the health, and 
shortens the life of the smoker, destroys every domestic 
happiness and prosperity, and is gradually efiecting the 
physical, mental and moral deterioration of the nation as a 



Imprimis, it is to be observed that every word of this state- 
ment may be appHed, with equal force of truth, to the 
excessive use of alcohol by European nations. It assumes 
that the Chinese race as a whole is addicted to the excessive 
use of opium — an assumption untenable in the face of all 
the most reliable data, inasmuch as the number of smokers 
is considerably less than ten per cent, of the population, and 
the proportion of " opium sots," comparatively speaking, 
small. ^ That the excessive use of opium is a vicious and 
degrading habit none will deny; but in attempting the intro- 
duction of remedial measures, sensible men will take into 
account the existence of weaker vessels in every community 
and \vill frame their measures, not on counsels of unattain- 
able perfection, but with reasonable allowance made for the 
actualities of life and human nature. Especially will they 
endeavour so to frame them, that the remedy, when applied, 
shall not lead to disorders worse than those evils which they 
propose to cure. 

Two blacks do not make a white, and the abuse of opium 
is not to be justified by the abuse of alcohol prevalent 
amongst Europeans. But the experience of those philan- 
thropists and legislators in Europe and America who have 
attempted to enforce the absolute prohibition of intoxicants 
has only serv^ed to demonstrate the melancholy truth, that a 
people cannot be made moral by xVct of Parliament, and 
that only the gradual education of the masses can check the 
lower forms of excess. The Temperance movement in 
England and America is just as earnest and quite as justified 
in its aspirations as the Anti- Opium movement in China ; but 
all its experience proves that a reasonable recognition of the 
limitations of human nature is more conducive to the ends 
of public morality than the doctrines of extremists. 
Scandinavia for example has achieved far better results, 
moral, social and economic, under the rational Gothenburg 

1 Vide the Hongkong Legislative Council's int^uiries into the opium 
question. 1907-8. 

449 G G 


licensing system which Mr. Gladstone vainly advocated in 
England, than the Prohibition States of America have 
attained under their liquor abolition movement. 

The opium question in China now resolves itself, for 
practical purposes, under three headings: 

1. Is opium necessary to the Chinese race, as alcohol is 
necessary to the European? 

2. Is the complete suppression of opium cultivation and 
opium smoking, humanly speaking, possible? 

3. Assuming the possibility of complete suppression, 
would it be possible to prevent a wide extension of the illicit 
morphia trade and/or the substitution of alcohol? 

The Anti-Opium Societies have proceeded upon the 
assumption that complete abolition of the opium habit is 
not only possible but probable, and that once the habit has 
been cured, there will be no craving for its dangerous substi- 
tutes. The picture which they draw is indeed attractive: 

There is now a probability," says one of many writers,^ 
" almost amounting to a certainty, that the production and 
importation of opium in China will come to an end in a few 
years, possibly four or five, and that its consumption will 
cease soon afterwards. Then the hundreds of thousands of 
acres which have been devoted to the growth of the poppy 
will be set free for the raising of useful products; the 
hundreds of millions of taels annually expended on opium 
will be turned to the purchase of useful and necessary 
things; the physical, mental, and moral strength of the 
people will no longer be sapped by this hideous vice, and 
the nation will have her life renewed." 

Precisely the same roseate visions have always been held 
forth in the campaign against alcoholic excess in all our 
great cities : and there is something to be thankful for in 
these aspirations, which bring distant glimpses of Utopia to 
bear upon conditions so desperate. But what are the facts 
of the Chinaman's opium-craving in the light of dis- 

1 From tlie Journal of the Arnerican Associatiofi of China, August^ 1911. 



passionate and methodical inquiry? If we study the first 
scientific evidence collected by a Select Committee of the 
House of Commons in 1872, and by many subsequent 
inquiries, down to the voluminous Report of the Straits 
Settlements Opium Commission of 1907-8, we find ample 
justification for that Commission's general conclusion, 
namely, "that the opium habit is comparable to the 
European's use of alcohol and tobacco and that it must be 
regarded as the expression among the Chinese of the 
universal tendency of human nature to some form of 

In 1872, it was the opinion of medical men closely 
acquainted with the subject that " there was a certain 
aptitude in the stimulant of opium to the circumstances of 
the Chinese people," and that " the universal use of the 
opium pipe amongst the Chinese must certainly be owing to 
some peculiarity of their mental and nervous constitution."^ 
As a stimulant and narcotic, under certain conditions of 
climate and labour, opium taken in moderation is not only 
harmless but directly beneficial. The Straits Settlements 
Report, which embodied a systematic attempt to render a 
complete and impartial account of the question of opium- 
smoking," emphasises the important fact, which the Anti- 
Opium Societies generally ignore, that the vast majority of 
opium smokers are, and remain, moderate consumers. 

"The evils arising from the use of opium (says this Report), 
were made the subject of specific inquiry from nearly every 
witness, and the medical witnesses were practically unani- 
mous, with the exception of those practitioners who held views 
strongly opposed to opium, that opium-smoking in moderation 
was relatively harmless. Even if carried to excess, no 
organic change in the body could be detected, the results 

^ That opium-smoking is a weakness, or form of indulgence peculiarly 
indicated by the physical and nervous system of the Chinese race, is 
proved by the fact that the Thibetan, Mahomedan and Mongolian popula- 
tion of Kansuh and other opium-growing provinces are practically exempt. 
{P'ide Blue Book No. 1 of 1911, p. 15.) 

451 G G 2 


being chiefly functional evils. It was also found, as would 
be the case with alcohol, impossible to lay down a standard 
of consumption which could be regarded as use in moderation 
or use in excess, owing to the varying physique and 
constitution of smokers. In this connection, therefore, it 
should be noted that the practical standard of two chees a 
day laid down by the China Mutual l^ife Insurance Company, 
as the maocimum consumption of persons who, without 
organic disease, are acceptable as first-class risks, is eight 
times the average consumption per head of Chinese adult 
males in the Straits Settlements in 1907." 

It has been objected by the Anti-Opium Societies that the 
Singapore Commission's Report embodies the opinion of a 
Colony whose illgotten gains of revenue are threatened at 
their source ; but even admitting that it may reflect bias of 
class, its views are based on methodical procedure of evidence 
and therefore entitled to respect. The attitude of the 
Anti-Opium Societies is largely based on the assumption that 
neither opium nor any other stimulant or narcotic is a 
necessity of human existence, just as Christian Scientists aver 
that disease and pain are merely illusions of unenlightened 
minds. But if we consider the question in the light of all 
human experience and biological science, we are forced to 
the conclusion that the propensity to opium smoking is just 
as rational and ineradicable in the Chinese race as alcohol is 
amongst Europeans ; and this being so, that measures which 
aim at eflective regulation and restriction of the traffic are 
likely to prove more beneficial to humanity than any 
wholesale abolition crusade. 

At this point, we are confronted with the second aspect 
of the problem, namely, is the complete suppression of 
opium smoking, humanly speaking, possible ? In the 
Straits Settlement Report we find it recorded that it was 
universally admitted that without an international agreement 
to st(jp the growtli of the poppy, the success of prohibitive 
legislation would be highly problematical." The resolutions 



of the International Opium Conference at the Hague were 
based, in so far as the Chinese opium traffic was concerned, 
upon a tacit assumption that China would demonstrate 
" unswerving sincerity," but the idea of practical legislation 
to control poppy cultivation throughout the world was 
recognised to be utterly impracticable ; even the measures 
proposed for the control of the movement and sale of opium, 
morphine, cocaine and their respective salts by international 
agreement, by Customs regulations and by Pharmacy laws, 
were regarded by many of the Conference delegates as 
practically unattainable, though worthy of moral encourage- 
ment. But the attitude of the individual Powers interested 
in the cultivation of opium afforded no possible ground for 
believing in any world-wide self-denying ordinances for its 
cessation. Even admitting the possibility of suppressing 
poppy cultivation in China, therefore, the continuance of 
production in Persia, Turkey, and Central Asia would simply 
lead to a rapid development of highly profitable smuggling. 
As matters stand to-day, the increased demand for foreign 
opium in Southern China has led to a great increase in the 
contraband trade in " uncertificated " opium — a trade in 
which the officials connive, precisely as they did in the 
Co-Hong days at Canton. 

That the natural propensity of the Chinese for opium- 
smoking is a peculiar racial characteristic is proved by the 
fact that the other Oriental races which produce the drug 
are themselves exempt from the smoking habit. It is a 
tendency which the average Chinese may carry with him to 
all parts of the world, just as the average Anglo-Saxon may 
carry a predilection for alcoholic stimulants, and this despite 
the moral censure of large and influential bodies of total 
abstainers and temperance reformers on both sides of the 
world. I make no excuse for insisting on the analogy 
between the question of opium-smoking and that of 
intoxicating liquors because, as JMeadows observed after 
many years' observation, " although the substances are 



different, I can see no difference at all as to the morality of 
producing, selling and consuming them ; while the only 
difference I can observe in the consequences of consumption 
is that the opium smoker is not so violent, so maudlin, or so 
disgusting as the drunkard." 

If the analogy be recognised as valid, the complete sup- 
pression of^ opium smoking in China becomes, humanly 
speaking, impossible. To achieve it, the suppression of 
poppy-growing will not suffice : we must exterminate the 
Chinese race. For the poppy, " flaunting her immoral 
beauty in the light of high Heaven," is not to blame for 
man's abuse of one of the most beneficent products of 
nature's laboratory. The thing to be rooted out is not the 
flower of the field, but the original sin in human nature. 
The Anti-Opium Society's activities have resulted in pro- 
hibiting the growing of the poppy in India, except for 
medicinal purposes, whilst the British Government continues 
to derive a large portion of its home revenues from the 
production and sale of intoxicating liquors. So be it : but 
would Mr. Alexander or the Rev. Mr. Thwing venture to 
propose that Great Britain should legislate against all 
cultivation of cereals and potatoes except for purposes of 
food ? Will the most ardent advocate of temperance for 
Christian England suggest the complete exclusion of French 
brandy and Spanish wine from our markets ? Yet this is 
precisely the course which we are adopting for the moral 
glory of Great Britain, in pa?^tibus infidelium, and by which 
it is hoped to achieve the emancipation of the Chinese race 
from its particular form of human weakness. 

Finally, assuming even a partial suppression of opium- 
smoking as the result of reduced production, and restrictive 
measures, is it possible to prevent a rapid increase of the 
more deadly morphia habit and/or the substitution of 
alcohol as a popular form of stimulant ? 




As touching the probabihty of alcohol replacing opium, I 
am miable to share the views of those who regard this as a 
likely contingency, for the reason that a predisposition to 
opium, in one form or another, seems to be indicated by the 
physical constitution of the Chinese race. Sir Frank 
Swettenham (to quote one experienced observer) has 
expressed the opinion that it is inadvisable to attempt to 
deprive the Chinese of opium " because some other stimulant 
would surely take its place, and it would most probably be 
alcohol." If we admit the possibility of such a result, how- 
ever, a new problem confronts us. The samshu (native-made 
spirit) which the Chinese use at present in moderate 
quantities, is made from rice and millet. Supposing the 
demand for this spirit to be enormously increased, and sup- 
plemented by importation of European intoxicating liquors, 
would it not be logically incumbent upon Anti- Alcohol 
Societies to advocate the suppression of rice and millet 
cultivation as well as the exclusion of foreign alcohol ? And 
even if they did not, would not the Chinese people be 
exposed to severely increased economic pressure by the 
diversion of food-staples to the production of alcohol ? 

These, however, are speculative assumptions. The dangers 
of morphia as a substitute for opium-smoking are real and 
immediate enough to have engaged the serious attention of 
philanthropists and medical men in China and abroad, and to 
have formed the subject of special inquiry and resolutions at 
the Hague Conference. Ever since the promulgation of the 
anti-opium regulations of 1906, the consumption of morphia, 
either in the form of " anti-opium pills " or hypodermic 
injections, has steadily risen. Prior to the increase of the 
import duty, in that year, from five to 200 per cent, ad 
valorem, the Customs returns showed an annual import 
of about four tons ; after the increase of duty, the trade 



passed entirely into the hands of smugglers, nothing was 
reported at the Customs, while the consumption increased, 
coram pithlico, by leaps and bounds. Not only was morphia- 
smuggling notoriously prevalent, but the manufacture in 
Japan of hypodermic needles and other appliances assumed 
formidable proportions. Doctors in every province testified 
to the fact that a large proportion of opium-smokers, 
frightened by the official crusade against opium-smoking, 
had replaced it by morphia,^ making their last state worse 
than their first. By Article XVI of the Convention signed 
at the Hague on January 23rd, 1912, the Chinese Govern- 
ment undertook " to promulgate Pharmacy laws for their 
subjects, regulating the sale and distribution of morphine, 
cocaine, and their respective salts," and to communicate 
these laws to the Governments of the Treaty Powers, 
which, if they found them acceptable, " would take the 
necessary measures to apply them to their nationals in 
China." Needless to say that under the conditions actually 
existing in China, no such laws could possibly be enforced, 
and that the smuggling and sale of morphia continues un- 
checked. By sanctioning the cultivation and smoking of 
opium, however, the provincial authorities are now likely to 
decrease the demand for the drug in its most pernicious 
and dangerous form. 

What, then, of the future ? The futility of legislation 
and philanthropic effort to effect the complete abolition 
of opium cultivation and to eradicate the opium habit in 
China is obvious. Nevertheless, just as in Great Britain, 
education, philanthropy, and the moral suasion of the 
temperance movement have generally reduced the national 
propensity to drunkenness, so it may reasonably be hoped 
that the moral effect of an undoubtedly active force of 
public opinion in China will gradually succeed in controlling 
and reducing the tendency to excessive use of opium. By 

^ Vide The Times correspondent at Shanghai^ ^^uly 3, 1908. 



restrictive legislation of a practical nature — such as that 
which Scandinavia has adopted with such excellent results 
under the Gothenburg system, and by the gradual education 
of the masses, progress may, and will, no doubt, be made, 
because of the motive force which springs from genuine 
recognition of the evil by an influential minority ; but no 
permanently beneficial results are to be expected from 
quixotic attempts to secure the root-and-branch elimina- 
tion of a deep-rooted national propensity. 




As, in the beginning of October, I write the concluding 
chapter of this brief survey of recent events in China, the 
storm and stress of the Revolution, the wave of lawlessness 
and looting that swept through the provinces in the early 
summer, have been succeeded by a sudden calm. " Un- 
cannily quiet," is the journalistic description of the present 
condition of the Chinese people ; and upon this happy state 
of affairs many conjectures are being based, generally hopeful 
for the stability of the new regime. " The Republic has 
evidently come to stay," writes one who, but lately, 
despaired of its chances. " There are unexpected signs of 
continuity in the Republican Government," is an official 
opinion, founded on the apparently cordial entente between 
Yuan Shih-k'ai and Sun Yat-sen, and on the amalgamation 
of the several groups of the Nationalist party. A guarded 
optimism is once more the order of the day in the European 
Press, the nation's gradual recovery of a measure of 
economic equilibrium being naturally (though erroneously) 
connected in the minds of the majority of distant observers 
with an actual or impending solution of the political 

Nevertheless, the explanation of this sudden lull in the 
storm of China's unrest lies not in any activity or inaction 
of politicians, nor can it be construed to imply that the 
country has understood and accepted the principles of 


At the Gate of the Wai-wu-pu. 


Republicanism as a remedy for the constitutional ailments 
of the body politic. The explanation, like the fundamental 
cause of Chinese unrest, is to be found in the region of 
elemental economics. It lies in the fact that for the past 
three months the great mass of the people has been busily 
engaged in something more profitable than political specula- 
tions, namely, in the reaping and gathering of exceptionally 
bountiful crops. And the fact that the nation's chances of 
daily bread have been menaced during the past year by 
the disorders of civil war makes this special harvest a 
messenger not only of plenty but of peace in the land. 
Not only does it solve the ever-insistent problem of daily 
bread for millions of the industrious, law-abiding peasantry, 
but it brings back to their homes and to fruitful labour 
large numbers of those who had joined the predatory rabble 
of the military element. It removes, for the time being, 
the fundamental cause of disorder ; it affords visible means 
of subsistence to the masses, a revival of inland and foreign 
trade, and, therefore, good prospects of internal peace for a 
season. Nothing could emphasise more fittingly than this 
the radical indifference of the masses to political questions, 
and, at the same time, their marvellous recuperative powers 
of dogged industry. To them it matters not whether the 
Government call itself Monarchy or Republic. " These, 
hewers of wood and drawers of water ; these, bent under 
burdens or torn of scourges ; these, that dig and weave, that 
plant and build ; workers in wood and in marble and in iron, 
by whom all food, clothing, habitation, furniture and means 
of delight are produced for themselves and for all men 
beside ; men, whose deeds are good, though their words may 
be few ; men, whose lives are serviceable, be they never so 
short, and worthy of honour, be they never so humble " ; ^ 
continue unswervingly to follow the path of labour prescribed 
by immemorial tradition. 

1 Ruskin^ Sesame and Lilies, Lecture III. 



Hence it is," says a writer ^ whose work displays intuitive 
sympathy for the Chinese people, " that in China govern- 
ment is neither arbitrary nor indispensable. Destroy our 
authorities, central and provincial, and our life will proceed 
very much as before. The law we obey is the law of our 
own nature, as it has been evolved by centuries of experience, 
and to this we continue our allegiance, even though the 
external sanction be withdrawn. Come what may, the 
family remains, with all that it involves, the attitude of mind 
remains, the spirit of order, industry, and thrift. These it 
is that make up China ; and the Governments we have 
passively received are Governments only so long as they 
understand that it is not theirs to govern, but merely to 
express in outward show, to formulate and define an order, 
which in essentials they must accept as they accept the 
motions of the heavens. China does not change. The 
tumults of which you make so much, and of which you are 
yourselves the cause, are no signs of the break-up of our 
civilisation. You hear the breakers roaring on the shore ; 
but far away beyond your ken, unsailed by ship of yours, 
stretch to the blue horizon the silent spaces of the sea." 

So much has been said and written of recent years about 
the break-up of China, that it is worth while to consider 
precisely what has been, and what is, the nature of China's 
civilisation, which contained all the elements of longevity 
and cohesive strength before the uprising of the Persian 
Empire, before Greece and Rome had laid the foundations 
of the civilisation of the West. It is essential, in the first 
place, to realise clearly that the foundations of the Chinese 
system are essentially moral, as distinct from material and 
military foundations. Not by any perfection of the art of 
government, not by persistent genius of administration, not 
by force of arms or subtlety of statecraft, has China main- 
tained through the long centuries her homogeneity of lan- 
guage, of manners and of fundamental beliefs : but by virtue 
of a system of moral philosophy, deep-rooted and enduring 
through and above all material crises, a system which has 

1 G. Lowes Dickinson^ Letters from John Chinaman. 


become ingrained in every fibre of the national life, inculcat- 
ing filial piety, industry and patience as the whole duty of 
man. This is the civilisation of China, an Empire that has 
not lived by the sword and will therefore not perish by the 
sword ; a civilisation whose social structure has endured, 
unchanging and unchanged, while dynasties rose and fell, 
while the Empire's frontiers expanded and shrank again, 
under native princes and alien rulers, a civilisation deep- 
rooted in the steadfast soul of a people. 

It is impossible not to recognise in the moral qualities 
developed by Confucianism and ancestor- worship a funda- 
mental cause of the longevity of China's social structure and 
of the innate strength of her civilisation. "In no country 
that is or was," said Sir Robert Hart, " has the command- 
ment ' Honour thy father and thy mother ' been so religiously 
obeyed. ... It is, in fact, the keynote of the family, social, 
official and national life, and because it is so, their days are 
long in the land God has given them." Through the long 
course of Chinese history, we may perceive the effect of this 
solidarity of the race-mind, combined with forces of 
economic superiority (born of an exceptionally severe 
struggle for existence) effecting the mental subjugation of 
alien races, including the Empire's barbaric invaders and 
conquerors. Tartars, Mongols, Manchus, each in their 
turn have been dominated and absorbed by the mental and 
moral superiority of the conquered race, and even when the 
Chinese Empire was partitioned and governed by several 
rulers, the spirit of its homogeneous civilisation remained 
unconquered and unconquerable. 

The innate qualities of industry, thrift and shrewd 
common sense which constitute the economic superiority of 
the Chinese, need not be empliasised ; even the Anglo- 
Saxon can only protect himself against them by rigid 
Exclusion Acts. It is a superiority bred of long centuries of 
penurious toil, which asserts itself, regardless of climate, 
environment and social conditions. Had the Chinese been 



captives by the waters of Babylon, they would have 
proceeded to eat up the Babylonians, even as they have 
eaten up the Manchus in Manchuria. The white races dare 
not face this Yellow Peril, and so the twentieth century 
witnesses the strange spectacle of Europe and America 
sending missionaries to preach the brotherhood of man to a 
race which they rigidly exclude from the white man's 
countries ; sending doctors to diminish the death-rate of a 
land to which they deny the alleviation of emigration ; 
sending the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven to a people 
" ring-fenced " within ever-narrowing limits on earth. 

The non-militant quality of China's civilisation, the passive 
philosophy thereby inbred in the race, which exposes its 
territories, to-day as in past ages, to the aggression of 
materially stronger nations, is a quality directly attributable 
to Confucianism, to the doctrines of the Superior Man. 
*' They believe in right so firmly," said Sir Kobert Hart, 
" that they scorn to think it requires to be supported or 
enforced by might " ; also, as I have pointed out elsewhere, 
it has never been the custom of this philosophical race to 
inquire too closely into the antecedents or proceedings of 
their rulers. Politically speaking, and bearing in mind the 
great changes which have taken place in the nation's 
political environment during the past fifty years, it is 
evident that the very qualities which have contributed 
to the longevity of China's social structure entail upon 
the race certain disabilities and defects. " The parental 
despotism of China," says Mill, " was a very fit instrument 
for carrying the nation up to the point of civilisation which 
it attained. But having reached that point, it was brought 
to a permanent halt, for want of mental liberty and individu- 
ality; requisites of improvement, which the institutions that 
liad carried it thus far, entirely incapacitated it from 
acquiring; and as the institutions did not break down and 
give place to others, further improvement stopped." ^ 

1 On Representative Government, chapter 11. 


To cite one instance in which the Chinese people now 
displays the defects of its qualities, it is evident that the 
anti-militarism of their system of government must acceler- 
ate the tendencies towards provincial autonomy which have 
followed naturally upon the removal of the dynasty, and 
this at a time when the pressure of the outer barbarian 
makes a strongly centralised government a matter of urgent 

Young China professes to seek, by an abrupt and complete 
departure from the traditions of the past and the teachings 
of the Sages, to attain to that mental liberty and individu- 
ality which Confucianism has checked: and there are some 
amongst Western observers who believe in the successful 
accomplishment of this stupendous miracle, in the sudden 
translation of the Chinese race, on a magic carpet of new 
formulae, from Asia's Middle Ages to the forefront of 
W estern civilisation. Few suspected," says one of the 
latest chroniclers of Far Eastern affairs, *' that the Chinese 
could so quickly abandon the traditions and customs of ages 
and pull down, as it were in a single night, ancient institu- 
tions dating back to periods long before the dawn of 
Christendom. And none imagined that, in place of these 
institutions, they would set up the most democratic form of 
government known to modern times." ^ Opinions of this 
kind, born of one of humanity's commonest delusions, might 
be overlooked were it not that their frequency encourages 
an exotic and unstable class of theoretical politicians on 
paths fraught with new perils of unrest for the masses. 
That China must change many of her ancient ways to adapt 
herself to the new conditions forced upon her by contact 
with the outside world, is clear. In effecting these 
necessary changes, Young China, wisely counselled and 
firmly handled, might be — nay, will be — a power for good: 
but not until it has realised the hard truth that no race, by 

^ Empires of the East, by Launcelot Lawton. Grant Richards, 1912. 



taking thought, can add an inch to its mental or material 
stature. The growth will come, by slow, and probably 
painful, educative processes; meanwhile the best govern- 
ment for China is not a political reach-me-down purchased 
at the nearest wholesale store, but "the Government which 
tends most to give them that, for want of which they 
cannot advance, or advance only in a lame and lop-sided 
manner," bearing ever in mind " the reservation necessary 
in all things which have for their object improvement or 
progress, namely, that, in seeking the good which is needed, 
no damage, or as little as possible, be done to that already 
possessed." ^ 

Many of Young China's instincts, and notably those of a 
Ciiauvinistic tendency, are fundamentally sound and 
justifiable on grounds of patriotism ; but because of in- 
dividualism (which also is a defect of the qualities bred in 
Confucianism) the practical results of their activities are all 
too frequently marred by self-seeking and venality. Their 
violent opposition to foreign loans, for example, is based on 
a perfectly just and intelligent appreciation of the dangers 
which lurk behind the operations of the political money- 
lender : yet that opposition must be foredoomed to futility 
unless accompanied by earnest and united efforts towards 
the establishment of fiscal reorganisation and honest finance 
as a sine qua noii of internal reform. Similarly, whilst the 
benefits to be expected from the development of the 
country's economic resources are obvious to all concerned, 
Dr. Sun Yat-sen's gigantic schemes can profit China nothing 
so long as the Republic's foreign loan negotiations continue 
to be conducted, amidst a turmoil of strife and intrigue, by 
the same men and the same tortuous methods that brought 
discredit on the Monarchy. 

The violence of Young China's iconoclastic haste threatens 
the ancient house Celestial with new dangers, for which 
the race has no immediate defence in its philosophy. The 

^ On Representative Government, chapter 11. 


weather-beaten structure will survive them, no doubt, 
because its foundations lie far deeper than the surface on 
whicli the politicians work ; because only the gradual sever- 
ance of its great roots can cause this wide-spreading tree to 
fall into decay. Young China itself must learn that every 
action is inevitably followed by some direct or indirect 
reaction, violent in proportion to its own violence. When, for 
instance, its leaders, in their furious zeal for change, decree the 
abolition of Confucianism, when a Republican Government 
Board orders the conversion of the Temple of Heaven into a 
model farm, it is attempting that which no alien ruler of the 
Chinese race has ever been able to do. It will learn, in the 
hard school of experience, that to attempt to destroy the 
foundations of the world's most ancient civilisation is a 
perilous adventure ; upon those foundations the weather- 
beaten structure must continue to rest, let the latter-day 
architects introduce what modern improvements and ad- 
ditional accommodation they may desire. 

For the moment, and because of the unprecedented 
conditions prevailing upon the passing of the Manchus, Young 
China, greatly daring, has declared its government to be a 
Republic. It would uproot the ancient foundations, the 
Dragon Throne, the cult of ancestors, and Confucianism, and 
rebuild in a day " the most democratic form of Government 
known to modern times." There are to be elections, declaring 
the will of the people,^ and a Constitution framed upon the 
best models ; a government based upon liberty, equality and 
fraternity, so that the wicked may for ever cease from 

1 The "revised laws for elections" were published^ in a code of 121 
articles, at the beginning of September, 1912. As examples of their 
general tenour and probable results, two articles are worthy of particular 
notice : 

Art. 82 — " The election shall be void if it be decided by the authorities 
that the list is false and that the corruption involves the whole number of 
persons managing the business." 

Art. 84 (extract). — " The election of members of the House of Repre- 
sentatives shall be cancelled if it be decided by the authorities that the 
person is not up to the standard." 

465 H H 


troubling and the weary be at rest. And strangely enough, 
despite the conspicuous failure of European ideals of popular 
representative government as recently applied to Turkey 
and Persia, many observers of the Western world appear to 
be hypnotised by the grandeur of these Utopian dreams. 
Setting aside all human experience, they cherish an optimistic 
belief in the future of Chinese Republicanism. "The 
Republic has come to stay," they declare, and its " unexpected 
signs of solidarity" are welcomed by the Radical Press of 
England with the same illogical satisfaction which greeted 
the Persian Mejliss's crude essays in Parliamentarism or the 
Young Turk's futile experiments with the ballot-box. 

If we examine the actual position of affairs at Peking and 
take stock of the progress made towards the accomplishment 
of the Republican ideal, it must be apparent to any 
dispassionate observer that those things which have been 
welcomed by many in China and abroad as proofs of 
continuity and solidarity in the Republican regime, constitute 
in themselves the very strongest proof that the actual 
government of China contains none of the elements of 
genuine Republicanism, but is merely the old despotism, the 
old mandarinate, under new names. The dreams of Sun 
Yat-sen and his fellow visionaries remain dreams ; such 
solidarity as the Republic can claim is the immediate result of 
Yuan Shih-k'ai's successful assertion of autocratic authority. 
What could be more significant, for instance, of the 
instinctive passivity of the Chinese race than the acquies- 
cence of Young China and the Advisory Council in the 
summary execution, by fiat of the President, of the 
Republican Generals, Chang Chen-wu and Fang Wei, 
accused of political conspiracy at Wuchang? Here was 
dictatorial power, wielded with a ruthlessness from which 
Tzu Hsi herself would have shrunk : yet the general opinion 
in China, instinctively recognising the need for the strong 
hand of authority, would appear to endorse Dr. Morrison's 
statement that " the chief complaint against Yuan is that 



he is far too anxious not to transgress constitutional 
limits." ' 

In a despatch from Peking published on the 5th October, 
the Special Correspondent of the Daily Telegraph thus 
describes the position of the Republic at that date : 

" Whilst the internal position has been considerably 
improved by the receipt of the new loan money, it is now 
generally recognised that China's task for the next six months 
is even more difficult than was previously thought, because 
new and heavy taxation must be promptly laid on the 
provinces in order to convert the national deficits, which 
have existed for several years, into surpluses, and stopping 
hand-to-mouth methods. 

" The delay in summoning the national Parliament has 
allowed an unsatisfactory one-man rule to grow up in the 
capital. With complete provincial detachment it is undeni- 
able that the Peking Ministries to-day are almost workless, 
and without functionaries. All the machinery for the 
provisional government is assembled under the roof of the 
Presidential mansion, and consequently the provinces are 
suspicious of the meaning of the attempts at centralisation, 
and further monopolisation of power will need the most 
careful treatment. 

" It has become an urgent necessity to advance the date 
of the general elections and cease playing with combustible 
elements. No better advice could be tendered to China by 
the friendly Powers than this : that the prompt inauguration 
of proper Parliamentary government will remove half the 
difficulties attending loan-making, the liquidation of outstand- 
ing obligations, and other exterior questions." 

Here we have the inauguration of proper Parliamentary 
Government " prescribed as a remedy against the " unsatis- 
factory one-man rule " which has been evolved, logically, 
inevitably and consistently with all traditions, for the simple 
reason that " proper Parliamentary Government " is but the 
phantom of an empty phrase. On the same day as this 

1 Pall Mall Gazette (interview), 16th September, 1912. 

467 H H 2 


despatch was published, a letter from a Peking correspondent 
of the Spectator deprecates pessimism concerning the future 
of the Republic : 

" The position here," he observes, " has improved to an 
extraordinary extent ; people are well satisfied with the 
Republic, and the opposition to the provisional President has 
subsided. He is certain to be elected President after the 
elections, and the pessimistic views of many publicists in the 
British Press seem unwarranted. The writer has lived too 
long in China to claim special credit for his opinion, but it 
appears to him that in Yuan Shih-k'ai the nation possesses 
the strong man whom it needs at this juncture. He would 
even hazard the conjecture that Huang Hsing^ will be a 
worthy successor in the Presidency when the day comes for 
Yuan to leave public life." 

The Strong Man — the Man of Destiny — to whom, in the 
regularly recurring crises of their history, the Chinese have 
ever looked to restore the traditions of authority and to 
uphold the ancient structure of the State : everything in 
the attitude of the several political elements, the Pao 
Huang Tang of the Monarchists, the Kuo-Min-Tang of 
the Nationalists, the Military League and the Advisory 
Council, points to recognition of the country's need of a 
strong ruler, and a strong ruler in the East means, at least, 
a benevolent despot. But what then becomes of the 
Republican ideal ? What of that Parliamentary system of 
Government that was to be broad based upon the people's 
will, directed by one great central machine, in which every 
province and every man in China shall have a voice ?"2 
What of the new edifice of pure democracy " for the com- 
pletion of which the whole Chinese people of 400 millions 

1 On the 15th September, 1912, in the house of Dr. Sun Yat-sen 
at Shanghai, General Huang Hsing outlined his policy for the restoration 
of financial stability. He proposed two remedies in lieu of foreign loans, 
namely, a citizens' contribution fund and an unlimited issue of unconvertible 
paper currency. He expressed his opinion that so great was the unanimity 
of public opinion throughout the country that both of these schemes should 
prove successful. ^ Vide supra, p. 120. 



had patiently prayed, secretly laboured and finally ac- 
complished ? " If we are not to be ridden by the ghosts of 
words, the manner in which the Republic is being con- 
solidated in the hands of Yuan Shih-k'ai affords incon- 
trovertible proof of the futility of the Republican dream. 
When the Spectators correspondent says "the people are 
well satisfied with the Republic," he is in fact reflecting the 
satisfaction of the sorely-harassed inhabitants of Peking at 
the prospects of a restoration of government a rOrientale. 
In other words, the activities of Young China, as represented 
by the leaders of the Kuo-Min-Tang, are being gradually 
modified by irresistible forces of instinct and traditions in a 
manner which justifies us in regarding the Republic as an 
accidental and transient phenomenon, which must be replaced 
within the near future, either by the absolute Monarchy of 
the Man of Destiny for whom the orthodox reformers wait, 
or by a limited Monarchy, tempered by cautious experiments 
in Constitutionalism.^ 

Recognising the indifference of China's masses towards all 
political theories, and bearing in mind the deep-rooted 
economic causes of unrest which must continue to afflict the 
nation until, by slow educative process, the existing social 
structure can be modified to meet its new environment, we 
perceive that only by the iron hand of authority can the nation 
be preserved at peace with itself and with its neighbours. The 
urgent necessity for the strong man is recognised as clearly 
by the innate commonsense of the Chinese people as by 
the collective intelligence of foreign diplomacy at Peking, a 
fact which, to thinking minds, disposes once and for all of 
the theory that the nation is at present capable of self- 
government, or Young China capable of evolving an efficient 
administration based on democratic principles. Whether 
Yuan Shih-k'ai possesses the qualities requisite in the Man 
of Destiny, time and the hour will prove. At least, he 
stands alone, accepted by almost universal consent of native 

^ Vide supra, chapter VII, p. 149. 


and foreign opinion, as the highest available combination of 
courage and intelligence, at the present crisis of the nation's 
history. The velvet glove he wears, gracefully enough, 
covering supple fingers of Oriental statecraft ; the hand can 
be iron, too, as recent events have shown. It remains to be 
seen whether he possesses the qualities which the Chinese 
expect and respect in a de facto ruler. 

For British policy in China, and especially for the protec- 
tion of our commercial and financial interests, everything in 
the present situation points to the wisdom of supporting 
Yuan Shih-k'ai in the centralisation of authority, and 
discountenancing, as far as possible, the prevailing tendencies 
towards provincial autonomy. Much may be done in this 
direction by firmness in insisting upon such conditions in all 
future loans as shall ensure the Central Government's direct 
control over expenditure. Much may be done, through the 
same powerful agency, if intelligently directed, towards 
progressive development of the country's economic resources, 
by means of honestly administered reproductive enterprises. 
Social reforms, for alleviation of the grievous burden of 
economic pressure, must necessarily be of slow growth : but 
by the encouragement of scientific measures for the im- 
provement of physical conditions, such as the land re- 
clamation scheme proposed by the American Red Cross 
Society ^ for the perennially flooded region of the Huai river, 

1 In the Report to the Chinese Government recently submitted by 
Mr. C. D. Jameson^ engineer-in-charge of the American Red Cross Society's 
reUef and survey works in the famine districts of North Anhui and North 
Kiangsu, it is estimated that, by the execution of works to cost less than 
four millions sterling, it would be possible to reclaim for regular cultivation 
an area of. about 17,000 square miles, in which at present the peasantry 
do not gather on the average more than two crops in five years. In 
addition to this, an area of more than a million acres of land, now covered 
by swamps and shallow lakes, would be made fit for farming. A population 
now consisting chiefly of beggars and nomad thieves might thus be con- 
verted into food-producers and tax-payers, with more immediate benefit 
to the State — and incidentally to the security of foreign bondholders — than 
is likely to result from any of the purposes for which Young China proposes 
to borrow foreign capital. 


Famine Relief Work. 


relief and permanent benefits of a practical kind would be 
conferred upon the people. 

Pending the gradual re-establishment of fiscal administra- 
tion in the provinces, and the creation of new sources of 
revenue by the Central Government, it is evident that China 
must be dependent, to a very considerable extent, upon 
foreign loans : the opportunity thus created is one which 
might well be directed to ends more beneficent than any 
attainable by making British policy dependent upon the 
success of Parliamentary institutions at Peking and Nan- 
king. To encourage loans for the re-organisation of the 
Chinese Government," or for the financing of Sun Yat-sen's 
fantastic railway schemes, means, in the end, increasing the 
undeserved hardships of the Chinese people, placing upon 
them new burdens of mandarin dishonesty and wasteful 
finance. What has been done in Egypt, what was done 
before 1909 in Macedonia, with such good results, can be 
done, without violation of sovereign rights or amour -pi^opre, 
to re-organise and consolidate the internal finances of China 
by gently, but firmly, insisting that British capital shall 
be expended for the benefit of the country and not for the 
benefit of the mandarin. To this end, it is essential to dis- 
countenance the misguided proceedings of those whose 
publicly-proclaimed sympathies tend to confirm in Young 
China an exaggerated sense of its importance and confidence 
in the practicability of its political phantasies. 

It is easy to speak smooth things, to express a hearty, 
generous belief in the prospects of vast prosperity on the 
immediate horizon. Nevertheless, the sympathetic optimists 
whose opinions and advice flatter the vanity and encourage 
the pretensions of the Chinese student class, incur a serious 
responsibility. To maintain, in the matter of finance, for 
instance, that China should be " mistress in her own house " 
is a dangerous creed : China, in whose capital the Foreign 
Legations are protected by the armed forces of eight nations ; 
China, whose only reliable revenues have been collected 



under the supervision of foreigners for more than half a 
century. Not by such means can the educated classes be 
brought to a fitting sense of the country's real needs, or 
imbued with the elements of wisdom in social and political 
economics. The interests of the Chinese masses and of 
British commerce alike will best be served by a policy of 
gradual rebuilding on the ancient foundations of China's 
social structure, making sincere efforts towards fiscal and 
financial re-organisation precede tariff revision, large foreign 
loans, and other stop-gap expedients ; making recognition of 
the Republic dependent upon the establishment of a central 
Government representative of the nation, to the extent that 
it shall command at least enough loyalty from the provinces 
to prevent overt breaches of Treaty, to guarantee the ordin- 
ary revenues of the country, and to ensure continuity of 
policy. Much can be done, in co-operation towards these 
ends, by wise counsel given in mission schools and colleges 
under European teachers ; by gentle firmness in the attitude 
of our diplomatic and Consular agents, and, above all, by 
the intelligent direction of our political finance. 

Given reasonable time for the inauguration of such 
gradual processes of education and reconstruction ; given 
surcease of internal strife and some relief from the severer 
aspects of economic pressure ; given a strong ruler, with 
wisdom sufficient to leave the old foundations undisturbed, 
directing all the Government's energies and the people's 
patriotism towards practical measures of social and economic 
reform, there would be good ground for hoping that the 
Chinese race might prove in the aggregate, as it does in 
the individual, its ready adaptability to environment. As 
matters stand, and until public opinion shall recognise that 
China's social system is the root cause of her economic 
problems and political unrest, the race is confronted by two 
alternatives, either that its surplus millions should overrun 
the earth or that they should starve. If ever Sir Robert 
Hart's dream should be fulfilled, and China possess millions 



of Boxers in serried ranks and war's panoply," prepared to 
enforce "the inherent and inahenable right of man to 
change his home and allegiance " {i.e.^ Chinese emigration), 
then may the Western world look for a solution of China's 
problems on the lurid field of Armageddon, as foreseen by 
His Majesty the Kaiser. But that day is not yet: the 
Chinese people's opportunities of emigration in search of 
food are steadily being diminished by pressure of less passive 
races. A temporary alleviation of the pressure, sufficient 
perhaps to avert severe crises for two or three generations, 
might be effected by well-organised colonisation schemes in 
the northern Dependencies, by scientific land reclamation, 
afforestation and river conservancy works, and by develop- 
ment of the country's mineral and industrial resources : but 
the fundamental problem would still remain, a source of 
perennial unrest, arising directly from the social code and 
transmitted beliefs of the masses. To modify these by 
education should be the first object of Chinese reformers 
and European philanthropists, for so long as they persist, 
neither Parliamentary institutions nor foreign loans can put 
an end to the afflictions of the Chinese people. 

It is, no doubt, because of these afflictions, ever recurring 
in the life story of the nation, that the patient, philosophical 
sons of Han have become so lovable a race. If affliction 
is good for the soul, the Chinese soul has received its full 
share of good — but whatever the origin of its excellence, 
we need no better proof of the inherent moral qualities and 
social virtues of the Chinese than the fact that the 
Europeans who have lived amongst them speak of them 
with affection and leave them with sincere regret. Despite 
all the material efficiency of the Western world, despite its 
attainments in science and art, the European resident 
instinctively recognises in the Chinese outlook upon life, 
even amongst the humblest of the population, certain 
elemental virtues which have been lost in the hurry of our 
modern civilisation. Instinctively, successful materialism 



pays its tribute of respect to the hoary wisdom of the East's 

And so, whatever the immediate fortunes of China, 
whatever shocks and surprises may await these old-world 
children, suddenly confronted, after long centuries of isola- 
tion, with the troubles and terrors of our restless modernity ; 
whatever evils they may have yet to endure because of their 
own inefficiency and the rapacity of their neighbours, we 
may, I think, rest assured that the qualities which have 
preserved the steadfast soul of this people through so 
many perils of change, will suffice in time to find a happy 
issue out of its present afflictions. When we remember 
the unperturbed and brooding spirit that dwells in China's 
philosophy, when we reflect on the qualities which dignify 
the lives of her common people, there is comfort in the 
words of Montaigne, who says " that all that shaketh doth 
not fall — the contexture of so vast a frame holdeth by more 
than one nail. It holds by its antiquity, as old buildings, 
which age hath robbed of foundation, nevertheless live and 
subsist by their own weight." 




Abdul Hamid, 134, 139, 140 
Acland, Mr., 406 fn. 
Alcock, Sir Rutherford, 260, 261 
Alexander, Mr., quoted 447 fn., 454 
America's Chinese Exclusion Acts, 192, 

303, 304 etseii., 461 
American Dingley Tariff Bill, 298 
American Red Cross Society, 29, 470 
Amherst, Lord, Mission in 1816, 63 
Amiot, Pere (Jesuit Missionary), 63 
Angell, Norman, quoted 384, 389 fn. 
Asahi Shimbun (Japanese Journal), 

quoted 331-2 
Awakening of China," The, 106 

Baber, Colborne, 5 

Bernstorff, Count J. H. von (German 
Ambassador at Washington), 
letter to, quoted 327-29 

Bezobrazoff, 352 

Birch Crisp Loan, 277, 377 fn. 

Blagoveschenk, Massacre at, 414 

Boxer Rising of 1900, 13 

Bredon, Sir Robert, 377, 384 fn., 
385 fn. 

Brenan, Mr. Consul, 260 

Bright, John, 259 

"British Relations in China," see 

Bruce, Sir Frederick, 257, 258 
Burke, Edmund, 145, quoted 175 

Caillaux and Messimy, Messrs, 290, 
291 fn. ; Caillaux Ministry, 292, 

Calhoun, Mr. (American Minister), 331, 

Cambon, Monsieur, 288 
Cameron, Sir Ewen, 267 
Cantlie, Dr. James, 50, cited 51, 224 
Canton, Attempt to capture, 150 

Birthplace of secret societies, 65, 182 

Canton (continued) : — 

Character of Cantonese, 189 
Emigration from, 190-92 
Flag of Independence raised, 150 
Focus of Chinese unrest, 185-86, 

Organised boycott of American trade, 

194, 205-06 
Personal and political characteristics 

of Cantonese politicians, 196-97 
Piracy prevalent, 34 

Carnegie, Andrew, 299, 386 

Cassini Convention, see Treaties and 

Chan Kwing-ming, 201 

Chang Chen-wu, General, 417 fn. ; 
executed, 466 

Chang Chien (First Chairman of Nan- 
king Assembly), 125 

Chang Chih-tung (Viceroy), 12, 73, 80, 
205, 209, 212; railway policy, 
245 ; death, 246, 255, 275, 278, 
279, 322, 323; re-purchase of 
Hankow-Canton Railway Con- 
cession, 359, 431 

Chang Hsiin, General, 39, 179, 254, 
417, 420 

Chang Shao-tseng, General, 131 

Chao Erh-feng (Director-General of 
Szechuan-HupeiRly., 1904), 246, 
Death, see fn. 

Chao Erh-hstin (Viceroy of Manchuria), 
179, (Governor of Moukden), 254 

Chao Ju-kua (Ancient Chinese author), 
see Rockhill 

Ch'en Chi-mei, 99, 119 

Ch'en Pi, 244 

Ch'en-tung Liang, Sir, K.C.M.G. (Mini- 
ster in Berlin), 81 

Chia Ch'ing, Emperor, 62, 63 

Ch'ien Lung, Emperor, 26, 62, 63, 65, 
186, 188, 371 



Banque de I'lndo-Chine, 278 
Banque d'Outremer of Brussels, 

Deutsch-Asiatische Bank, 273, 274, 

275, 278, 290, 323 
Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, 243, 

267, 271, 272, 273, 278, 279, 281, 

282, 367 
Manchurian Bank, 312, 313 
Russo- Asiatic Bank, 400, 401 
Sino-Belgian Bank, 398 
Yokohama Specie Bank, 398 
Changes brought about by newspapers 

and railways, 231-32 

Birthrate compared with American 

birthrate, 193 
Deep-rooted instincts, 23 
Fundamental question — that of 

food, 28 
Historic consciousness, 1 
Racial qualities, 3, 353 
"Citizens Fund," 119 
Collapse of the Manchue, 12 
Constitutional reform promulgated, 

Endless regulations, 115 

Foreign Customs Inspectorate, 204 

Causes of Unrest : — 

Economic pressure, 9, 31, 86, 295, 
375, 421-22, 459, 472 

Fear of foreign aggression, 47 

Infant mortality, 15 

Impact of the West, 21 

Struggle for existence, 14, 461 

Western education, 6 
Local self-government, 126 
Mahomedans in, 141 
National Parliament Regulation Bill 

passed, 118 
*'Nine Years Programme" (1908), 

114, 117, 121, 128 
"Nine Years Programme," shortened 

by 4 years, 129 
Population, statistics of at various 

periods, 63-64, 376, 412 fn. 
Racial differences in, 183-84, 251 
Railways : — 

Antung-Moukden, 310 

"Battle of Concessions " (1898), 
232, 263, 266, 267 

Chekiang Railway, 238 

Chinchou-Aigun Railway, 315, 
316, 318, 320 et seq., 341, 349, 
363, 414 

China (continued) : — 
Railways (continued) : — 

Chinese Central Railways, Ltd., 

Chinese Eastern Railway, 315, 

316, 318 

Eastern Siberian Railway, 233, 

Fakuman Railway, 219-20, 312, 

317, 321 

Hangchou - Ningpo Railway 

Agreement, 237, 392 
Hankow- Canton Railway, 234, 

244, 306, 323, 359 
Hankow-Szechuan Railway, 271- 

72, 323 

Hukuang Railway Agreement, 

Kiakhta-Urga Railway, 351, 352 
Peking-Kalgan Railway, 237, 398 
Shanghai - Hangchou - Ningpo 

Railway, 368 
Shanghai - Nanking Railway 

Agreement, 232, 234 
Shanghai-Ningpo Railway, 237, 


South Manchurian Railway, 309, 
310, 311, 315, 361 

Struggle between Central Gov- 
ernment and Provincial Bureau 
as to Railway development, 

Szechuan-Hupei Railway, 246, 

Tientsin-P'ukou (Anglo-German 

line), 237, 245 
Trans-Manchurian line, proposed 

sale of, 315 
Yangtsze Railways, 322 et seq. 
Republic : — 

Party definitely organised at 

Shanghai, 151 
Dangers threatening, 180 
Dawn of struggle between old 

and new Republicans, 171- 


Disorganisation of, after six 

months, 176 
Enthusiastically supported by 

Chinese communities abroad, 


Revolution compared with Turkish, 

Rules for Local Self-government, 

Value of foreign trade per capita, 


China (continued) : — 

Value of Public Service examina- 
tions, 75-76 
War with Japan (1894), 355 
"China Association," The, 264 
" China League " Manifesto, quoted 270 
"Chinese Characteristics," see Arthur 

Ch'ing, Prince, 139, 141; interview with 
T'ang Shao-yi, 161, 247, 248; 
agreement with Sir Ernest Satow 
(1903), 278; negotiations with 
America over railway loan, 322, 
323, 431 

Chirol, Sir Valentine, quoted 88, 172 
ChouTzu-chi (Minister of Finance), 395 
Chu, Marquis, 180 

Chu Yuan-chang (Hung Wu), Founder 
of Ming Dynasty, 56, 60, 72 

Clarendon, Lord, 260, 261 

Confucianism, 5, 11, 12, 14, 15, 90, 103, 
107, 108, 116, 123, 144, 227, 229, 
230-31, 408, 461, 462, 463, 464, 

Cooke, Wingrove {Times correspondent 

in 1858), 3 
Cordes, Herr, 275 
Costa, Dr. Aflfonso, 200 
Cottu, Baron, 154, 155 
Cranborne, Lord, 269 
Crane, Mr., 330 
Crawford, Sir Richard, 377 
Crewe, Earl of, 295 

Daily Mail, 279 

DaUy Telegraph, 9, quoted 344-46, 413, 

quoted 467 
Danton, 224 
Demoulins, Edraond, 2 
"Descriptive Sociology," see Herbert 


"Descriptive Sociology of the Chinese," 

see E. T. C. Werner 
Diaz, President, 41 
Dickinson, G. Lowes, 460 fn. 
Diderot, 8 

Dogger Bank panic, 414 
Dudgeon, Sir Charles, 265 
Durham, Bishop of, 435 

East India Company, 256 
Eastern Times (Shanghai Journal), 197 
Elgin, Lord, 263, 266, 424 fn. 
Empress Dowager (the late), see Tzti 

Famines (recurring), 16, 30-31 ; four 

great, 64 
Fang-Wei, General, executed, 466 
ffrench, Lord, see Pauling and Co. 
Fletcher, H. P. (American Charge 

d 'Affaires at Peking), 323 
" Four Nations " Syndicate established, 

324; became "Six Nations," 


French Congo Company, 291 
French Encyclopaedists, 8 
Froude, A. J., cited, 3 

George, David Lloyd, 225 

George, Henry, 225 

Giles, Professor, 228 

Gladstone, Mr., 450 

Gordon, General C. G., 92; "Ever 

Victorious Army," 173, 411 
Gothenburg System, 449, 457 
Goto, Baron, 311 fn., 344 
Gray, Willis E. (Engineer-in-Chief of 

Canton- Hankow Rly.), 214 
Great Britain : — 

Causes which influenced policy of, 


Trade with China, statistics of, 
256 fn. 

Wars with China (1842, 1858), object 
of, 256 

and Taiping Rebellion, 257 fn. 
Grey, Sir Edward, 191 fn., 280, 282, 

283, 285, 321, 341, 347, 365 
Gumpach, Johannes von, 433 
Gundry, Mr., 265 

Hague Conference, 144, 386 
Hankow, Revolution at (1911), 365 
Harriman, E. H., 309, 310, 311, 315, 

317, 318, 326 
Harrison, E. J., 5 

Hart, Sir Robert, quoted 175, 188, 208, 
209, 259, 263, quoted 413, 461, 
462, 472 

Hay, Mr. Secretary, 294, 303 

Hayashi, Count, 293 

Hearn, Lafcadio, cited 357-58 

Hegel, quoted 187 

Hongkong, Death-rate of Chinese 

children at, 15 
Horvat, General, 337 
Hosie, Sir Alexander, 440 
Hsi Liang (Viceroy of Manchuria), 316, 


Hsien Feng, Emperor, 13, 93 
Hsiung Hsi-ling (Chinese Minister of 
Finance), 332 



Hsii Chou-fu, looting of, 39 
Hsii Shih-ch'ang (Viceroy of Manchuria), 
218, 246 

Huang Hsing, General, organises Can- 
ton revolt in 1911, 196, 392-93, 

Hung Wu, see Chu Yuan-chang. 

Ijuin, Mr. (Japanese Minister at 

Peking), 312 
Imperial Maritime Customs, 285, 392 
Inquiry into the Population of China," 

see Rockhill. 
International Opium Conference at the 

Hague (1911), 429, 441, 453, 455, 


Ishimoto, General, 368 fn, 
Isvolsky, Mr., 319, 320, 329, 344 
Ito, Prince, 111 ; opinions of, 172-3, 
293, 295, 309, 315, 326, 334 

Jackson, Sir Thomas, 271 
Jameson, Mr. C. D., 470 fn. 
Japan, late Emperor of, 293 
Japan and Japanese policy, 330-32, 354 
Jardine, Matheson and Co., 267, 271, 274 
Jefferson, President, 326 
Jeme Tein-yew (Director of Hallways), 
81, 209 

John, Dr. Griffith, 430, 448 
Johnstone, Mr., 435 
Jordan, Sir John, 163, 250, 267, 275, 

Journal of the American Association of 

China (1911), 450 
Jung Lu, 52, 109, 111 

Kaneko, Baron, quoted 330 

K'ang Hsi, Emperor, 26, 60, 62, 64, 
65, 186, 188, 371 

K'ang Yu-wei, 12, 52, 60 ; leads Reform 
Movement of 1898, 70, 79, 82, 
96, 97, 150, 175, 198, 199 

Katsura, Prince, 293, 309 ; mission to 
St. Petersburg, 334, 342, 343 
et seq. , 350, 352, 356, 365, 368 

Kavvashima, Admiral, 365 

Kiaochao, seizure of by Germany, 299 

Kipling, Rudyard, cited 4 

Kissingen "Conversations," 288 

Knox, Mr. Secretary, 311, 315, 316, 
317, 318, 319, 320, 322, 324, 327, 
334, 339, 346, 360, 363, 383, 384 

KokovtsoflF, Mr., 315, 316, 319, 320, 334, 
344, 345, 356 

Ko Ming-t'ang (Revolutionary Society), 
151, 182, 198 fn., 226, 468, 469 

Komura, Marquis, 293, 310, 312, quoted 
357, 362 

Korostovetz, Monsieur, 337 

Kuang Hsii, Emperor, 60, 70, 72, 82, 
97, 314 

Kublai Khan (Founder of the Mongol 

Dynasty), 25, 63 
Kuhn, Loeb and Co., 313 
Ku Hung-ming, 97 
Kung Ho-tang (Moderate Party), 226 
Kutukhtu Lama, 349, 350 

Lansdowne, Lord, 268, 293, 321, 361 

Lawton, Launcelot, 463 fn. 

Lea, Homer, " General," 226, 364 

" Letters from John Chinaman," quoted 

26, 460 
Li, General, 412 

Li Hung-chang, Concessions to Russia, 
69 ; venality of, 70, 72, 233, 235, 
263, 388 fn. 

Li Lien-ying (Chief Eunuch), 69, 109, 

Li Ping-shu, 151 
Li Tsz-ching (Rebel Chief), 61 
Li Yuan-hung, General, 93, 96 ; Ad- 
ministration at Hankow, 99 ; 

supports Republic, 150, 151, 161, 

162, 165, 182, 183, 412, 418 fn., 

441, 442, 444 
Liang Ch'-ch'ao, 12, 70, 71, 82, 96, 108, 

175, 198, 199, 417 
Liang Mao-ting (Chinese Minister of 

Foreign Affairs), 350 fn. 
Liang Pi, General, assassinated, 169 
Liang Shih-yi, drafts Abdication Edicts, 

169, 209 
Liang T'un-yen, 81, 209 
Lim Boon-keng, 52, 59 ; character and 

career, 59-60 
Ling Chi Hong (Chinese resident in 

Tokyo), quoted 84-85 
Liu K'un-yi (Viceroy), 12, 66, 73, 110, 


Liu Shao-yang, 91 fn. 

Liu Yuk-lin (Minister in London), 81 

Loch, Captain, 433 fn. 

Lodge, Senator, 301 fn., 364 

Macartney, Lord, 21, 62 
Macgowan, Mr. J., quoted 26, 428 fn. 
Madero, General, 364 
Mahan, Captain, 301 
Meadows, Taylor, 5, 37, 66, 74, 75, 93, 
231, 453 


Men and Manners of Modem China," 

428 fn. 
Mencius, 29, 107 
Meyer, Sir Carl, Bt., 291 fn. 
Michie, Alexander, quoted 259, quoted 


Mill, John Stuart, 103, 107, 111, 127, 
128, 145, 146, 197 ; cited 227, 462 

Modern Constitutions, cited 133 

Monroe Doctrine, 295, 297, 298, 326, 
329; '^for Asia," 364 

Montaigne, quoted 27, 474 

Morley, Lord, 8 

Morocco " Conversations," 288 

Morrison, Dr., 153, 466 

Morse, H. B., 192 fn., quoted 206, 423, 

Moukerjee, Dr. Ashutosh, 89 
Murphy, Father (Jesuit Missionary at 
Hankow), 93 

Napier, Lord, 430 

Na T'ung, 70, 310, 359 fn., 360 

Noetzlin, Mr., 315 

North China Daily News, quoted 35, 
39, 59, quoted 200-01, 280, 282, 
quoted 382 fn., 416 
North China Herald, 105 
Novoe Vremya, quoted 342-43 
Nurhachi (Founder of Manchu Dynasty), 

Odagiri, Mr., 359 fn., 366, 400 

Oishi, Mr., quoted 368 fn. 

Okuma, Count, 175 

Old Buddha, see Tzti Hsi 

Opium Abolitions Agreements (1907 

and 1911), 431, Edict of 1906, 430 
OsalM Mainichi, quoted 343-44, 365 
Osborn, Captain Sherard, R.N., quoted 


Pall Mall Gazette, quoted 344 ; interview 
with Dr. Morrison, 466-67 

Palmerston, Lord, 256, 258, 259 

Pao Huang Hui (League for the Defence 
of the Monarchy), 97 

Pao Huang Tang, 468 

Pauling and Co., Messrs., 311, 312, 360 

"Peace or War East of Baikal," see E. 
J. Harrison 

Pthing Daily News, 428 

Perry, Commodore, 300 

Poincare, Monsieur, 342 

Poinsard, Leon, 2 

Pottinger, Sir Henry, 432 

Pria/nuryey Journal, quoted 349 

P'u lun. Prince, 112 
"Putnam Weale," 9, quoted 413 and 

"Quarterly Review," quoted 172-75 
Reed, Mr., 424 fn. 

Regent, Prince, 170, 209, 218, 278 ; 

accession of, 314, 323 
Reinscli, Professor, 4, 5, cited 45, 46, 

85, quoted 409-10 
Republican Advocate (Shanghai Journal), 

quoted 101, quoted 192 
Republican Manifesto, 52-55 
Renter, cited 387, 418 
Richthofen, Baron von, 5, 375 
Rockhill, W. W., cited 31, cited 63, 

187 fn., 306, 318 
Roosevelt, Mr., 297, 301, 302, 306, 


Ross, Professor E. A., quoted 5-6 
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 8, 107, 145 
Rump, Herr (Foreign Official Auditor 

of Banks) 402 fn. 
Ruskin, John, 386-87, quoted 459 
Russell, Lord John, 258, 261 
Russia, late Emperor of, 386 

Sah, Admiral, 414 fn., 419 
Said Pasha, 136, 139, 140 
Saionji, Marquis, 366, 368 fn. 
Salisbury, Lord, 267, 276 fn. 
Salt Gabelle, the, 281, 394 
Sassoon and Co., Messrs., 447 
Satow, Sir Ernest, 268, 278, 322 
Sazonoff, Monsieur, Speech in the Duma, 

334-35, 341, 345, 347 
Schiflf, Mr., 330 
Scott, J. L., 265 

Schroederand Co., Messrs. (London), 400 
Seymour, Admiral, 208 
Shanghai, Famine Relief Committee, 31 
Shanghai, present revolution breaks out, 

93 ; value of opium stored at, 446 
Sheng Hsuan-hui, 72, 234, 247, 250' 
Sheng Kung-pao, 234, 235, 238, 239, 

245 ; character and policy of, 

247-49, 250, 277, 317, 366, 367, 


Sheng Yun, 418 

Shimonoseki, Treaty of, see Treaties, 

bombardment of, 307 fn. 
Shida, Mr. (Japanese expert), 131 
Shuster, Mr., 330 
Smith, Dr. Arthur, quoted 6 


Spectator^ quoted 468, 469 

Spencer, Herbert, cited 2, quoted 7-8, 
cited 42, 45, 92, 93 fn., 135, 201, 
quoted 230, 425 

"Squeeze," prevalence of, 100, 204, 374 

Staal, M. de, 361 

Stanhope, Earl of, 294 

Stein, Aurel, 2 

Stolypin, Monsieur, 334, 351 

Straight, W. D. (U.S. Consul at 
Moukden), 311, 312, 321, 324 

Strand Magazine, Article by Sun 
Yat-sen, 226 

Sun Yat-sen, Dr., 27, 50 ; first graduate 
of Hongkong College of Medicine, 
51 ; personal magnetism of, 51 ; 
kidnapped by Chinese Legation in 
London (1896), 51 ; character of, 
51-52 ; issues Manifesto as 
President Elect of Republican 
Government at Nanking, 52 ; 
ancestor worship, 55 ; prays 
at Shrine of Hung Wu, 56-59 ; 
denunciation of Manchu des- 
potism, 67, 71 ; compelled to 
flee the country, 79, 99 ; con- 
spires against the Dynasty, 113 ; 
advocate of popular representa- 
tion, 120, 151, 152, 153; pro- 
fesses Christianity, 158, 162 ; 
arrives at Shanghai, 167 ; issues 
Manifesto as Provincial Presi- 
dent, 176 ; urged to establish 
a Military Dictatorship, 176-77; 
dreams and aspirations, 178 ; 
relations with Japanese finan- 
ciers, 182-83, 186, 195, 198, 199, 
200, 201, 202 ; favours abolition 
of extra-territorial rights for 
foreigners, 205, 211 ; character 
sketch of, 223-226, 251, 252, 
308, 365, 366, 367, 380, 393, 396, 
398, 399, 409, 441, 442, 444, 445, 
458, 464, 466, 468 fn., 471 

"Sun Yat-sen and the Awakening of 
China," 50 

Swettenham, Sir Frank, 455 

Syvet (St. Petersburg Journal), quoted, 

Taft, President, 278, 279, 298, 308, 323 
Taiping Rebellion, 16; causes of, etc., 
65 et seq. ; compared with 
present revolution, 92, 156, 186 
Takahira, Mr. (Japanese Ambassador 
at Washington), 313 

Tan Sze-tong, 12, 70 

Tang Shao-yi (late Premier of the 
Republic), 81, 82, 94, 107, 152 
1 53 ; counteracts Yuan Shih-k'ai's 
policy, 159 ; policy and character 
of, 159 et seq. ; at Peace Confer- 
ence at Shanghai, 165-66, 168, 
170, 183, 199, 203, 204 ; narrowly 
escapes execution by British 
Naval Authorities, 207-08 ; 
various appointments, 208, 209, 
211, 214 ; character and career of, 
215-23 ; negotiations for financing 
Fakumen Railway, 219-20, 225, 
236, 237, 239 ; differences with 
"Four Nations" group, 252, 
305, 310 ; Governor of Feng Tien, 
311 ; sent on Special Mission to 
America, 312 ; reaches Washing- 
ton, 313 ; failure of Mission, 314, 
326 ; and South Manchurian Line, 
315, 324, 351 fn., 360, 367 ; 
Budget, 379-81, 382, 393, 395, 
396, 397, 398, 399, 400, 403 ; his 
Opium Regulations, 425, 435, 
436, 439 

Taoists, The, 18 

Temps, Le, cited 339-40 

"The British and Chinese Corporation 
Ltd.," 267 

" The China Year Book " (1912), 115 

" The Chinese and their Rebellions," see 

"The Chinese Crisis from Within," see 
Lim Boon-keng. 

" The Englishman in China," seeMichie. 

The Times, 56, 96, cited 103, 260, 
quoted 358, 437 
Peking correspondent, quoted 131 ; 
interview with Yuan Shih-k'ai, 
152, 163, 164 ; at Shanghai Con- 
ference, 165, 168, 169, 216-17, 
240 ; warns British investors in 
China, 242-44, 267, 278, 340, 363, 
quoted 382 fn., 399 fn., 402 fn., 

Shanghai correspondent, 443 fn., 

456 fn. 
Thwing, Rev. Mr., 454 
Tieh-Liang (ex-Boxer and Tartar 

General), 168, 314 
Tolstoi, Count, 144 

Tong Kai-son (Representative at Hague 

Opium Conference), 81 
Treaties and Conventions : — 

Anglo-Chinese Opium Convention 
(1907), 436 



Treaties and Conventions (continued) : — 
xinglo - Japanese Alliance (1902), 

293, 303, 321, 327, 342, 356, 359, 

361; Modification of, 363, 364, 

366, 368, 405, 415 
Burlingame Treaty (1868), 304, 382 
Cassini Convention, 233, 273, 387 
Franco- Japanese Convention (1907), 


Mackay Treaty, 269, 272, 315 
Nanking Treaty (1842), 430, 432 
Peking Agreement (Siuo-Japanese, 

1905), 327, 358, 360, 361 
Portsmouth U.S.A. Treaty (1905), 

293, 294, 295, 306, 308, 309, 311, 

318, 320, 321, 334, 338, 342, 355, 

358, 360, 361, 388 
Russo-Japanese Entente, 311, 320, 

336, 338, 339, 350, 363, 414 
Russian-Manchurian Convention, 


Shimonoseki, Treaty of (1895), 373 
Six Powers Conference, 402 et seq. 
Tientsin, Treaty of (1858), 258, 
262, 428 

Triad Secret Society, 65, 72, 150, 186 

Tsai Tse, Duke, 110 

Ts'en Ch'un-hsuan (Ex- Viceroy of 
Canton), 214, 239, 250 

Tseng, Marquis, 214, 221 

Tseng Kuo-fan, 66 

Tso Tsung-t'ang, 66, 417 

Tuan Fang, 248, 418 fn. 

T'ung Meng-hui (Advanced Radical 
Party), 96, 97, 107, 160, 161, 196, 
198, 199 ; its political platform, 
202-03, 209, 215, 217, 223, 226, 
254, 382, 393 

T'une, Yi-tang (Constitutional or Mo- 
derate Reformers), 198, 199, 217 

Turkish Chamber, Description of 
visit to, 136 et seq. 

Tzu Hsi (the "Old Buddha," late 
Empress Dowager), Character and 
characteristics of her reign, 
66-70 ; suppresses Reform 
Movement of 1898, 70 ; realises 
her error, 70-71 ; collapse of 
Manchu Dynasty after her death, 
73, 76, 79, 80, 81; Education 
Decree in 1904, 83 ; efltect of 
death of, 87, 95, 113; Reform 
policy after Boxer debacle, 109- 
12, 139, 140 ; Palace hoards, 155, 
169 ; Abdication Edict quoted 
170, 218, 314, 326 ; Opium Edict, 
Nov., 1906, 425 

UcHiDA, Viscount, 366 
Universal Gazette, 214 

Victoria, Queen, 110 

Wade, Sir Thomas, 261 
Wang Ching-mai, 202 
Wegener, Professor, quoted 19 
Weihaiwei "Leased," 261 
Wen Hsiang, ' ' The last of the Manchus, ' ' 

Wen Tsung-yao, 72, 108, 151, 165, 182, 

198, 211 ; character and career 

of, 214-15 
" Weng Ching," see Lim Boon-keng. 
Weng T'ung-ho (Imperial Tutor), 79 
Werner, E. T. C, 2 
" White Lily " Secret Society, 62, 65 
World's Chinese Student's Journal, 84, 

87, 94, 151, 439 
World's Missionary Conference in 

Edinburgh (1909), 435 
Wuchang, Rebellion at, 150, 181 ; 

Imperial success at, 161 
Wu K'o-tu, 12 

Wu San-kuei (Imperialist General), 61, 
64, 186 

Wu Ting-fang, 12 ; Minister of Foreign 
Afiairs, 52, 71, 72, 108, 151, 155 ; 
at Peace Conference at Shanghai, 
164, 165 ; resigns, 167, 168, 182, 
198, 199, 205, 211 ; character and 
career of, 212-14, 221 

Yellow River Floods, 16 
Yen Fu, 49, 97, 104 
Yin Chang, General, 419 
Young China : — 

Absence of religious inspiration, 18 

,, ,, an authorised aristocracy, 19 
Birth of, in 1895, 78 
Bitterly resents Asiatic Exclusion 
Acts, 192 

Compared with Young Turkey, 107, 

Effects of Education in Japan, 83-88 

in India, 88-92 

in America, 95 
Emotional and theatrical tendencies, 

Favours Constitution based on British 
model, 131 

Favours, American and French, 132 

Goodwill to foreigners as price of non- 
intervention, 158 

Influence of French Revolution, 145, 
199-20, 224 



Young China {continued) : — 

Leaders of, essentially mandarins, 

Political origins of, 80 

Programmes of Reform_, 17 

Qualities and defects of, 11, 19, 24, 
100-02, 104 
Yuan Shih-k'ai, 27, 33 ; advises abolition 
of ancient classical system of 
examination, 80 ; stimulates West- 
ern learning movement, 81 ; fall 
of, 87 ; Presidential Manifesto, 
94,95 ; nominates Liang Ch'i-ch'ao 
to be Minister of Justice, 96, 97 ; 
opposes unlawful taxation, 100- 
01 ; in Chihli, 102 ; attempted 
assassination of, 105, 168 ; urges 
reform on Tztl Hsi, 110 ; Presiden- 
tial Mandate, 119 ; proposes to 
appoint Chang Chen Minister of 
Commerce, 125, 131 ; takes oath 
as Provisional President of 
Chinese Republic, 152 ; policy and 
character of, 152-59, 170-171 ; 
sends Tang Shao-yi as Imperial 

Yuan Shih-k'ai (continued) : — 

Delegate to the Yangtsze, 161 ; 
presses for Peace Conference to 
be held at Wuchang, 165 ; threat- 
ened with assassination, 166; 
agrees to National Convention, 
166-67, 170 ; compared to Count 
Okuma and Edmund Burke, 176, 
179, 181 ; his deliberate opinion on 
divergent aims of North and 
South, 196, 197-99, 202, 203; 
Viceroy of Chihli, 207, 208, 216, 
218, 252, 254, 255, 267, 283; 
effect of Tztl Hsi's death on his 
policy, 314 ; supports Mr. Har- 
riman's railway schemes, 326, 
378, 381, 392, 395, 396, 397, 398, 
415, 416, 458 ; orders execution 
of Republican Generals, 466, 468, 
469, 470 

Yu Ch'uan-pu, The (Ministry of Com- 
munications), 243 
Yung Cheng, Emperor, 65, 186 
Yung Wing, Education Mission to United 
States (1875), 80, 81 


8vo. Cloth, 155. net. 



J. O. P. BLAND. 

Illustrated with original drawings by W. D. Straight. 

Also by the satne Author 



5 / 9 ^Mu^<^ 



DS Bland, John Otway Percy 

7l<0 Recent events and present 

.63 policies in China 


cop .2